Complete Guide to Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs CD.
This software is intended for patient use as a home reference. Drug Guide presents the following broad disclaimer each time it is used: "The information is not intended to replace consultation with a physician; all information is presented by generic drug name; and not every possible side effect is included."
The interface consists of two columns. The left column contains one of three user selectable indexes. The right column holds the drug monograph. Drugs can be selected from a generic or a brand name index. A third index is an alphabetical listing of all terms in a glossary. The glossary contains definitions of medical terms used in the drug monographs. The definitions can be accessed from the glossary index or by selecting highlighted text links (hypertext) in the monographs.
Each drug monograph is divided into fairly standard but discontinuous sections that are accessed using icons in the right margin. The icons are unlabeled, and the symbols are not intuitive, taxing user memory.
There are icons that can be clicked on to hear the pronunciation (requires a sound card) of some drug names or drug group names and to jump to other sections of the drug monograph. A list of common brand names can be accessed from the Basic Information section. Selecting brand names that appear in blue produces a picture of the drug.
A Search function is available from the menu; it allows combinations of search terms. The search can be global or limited to the current topic. Search results are presented in a scrollable list box. A Go To function jumps to the user's selection.
As an illustration of use, I read the carbamazepine monograph, then used Search to find "captopril." I was presented the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) monograph while the index column still indicated carbamazepine. Searching "enalapril" yielded the same ACEI monograph. Unfortunately, the information on administration with food, response to a missed does, time of onset, and number of doses per day should be different for these two drugs. The monograph misstates that ACEIs "strengthen heartbeat" as the mechanism of action in heart failure. Under drug interactions, it states that use with "low-salt milk" may yield a high serum potassium. A dietitian I consulted did not know what "low-salt milk" is either.
A search for "lisinopril" yielded the same ACEI monograph. A picture is provided for Zestril but not Prinivil. The monograph on ACEIs includes only three of the eight available drugs in this class. Pronuncation of the drug class title is provided for the ACEIs but is not for the individual drugs in the class. For some other drugs, it is vice versa.
I tested the nonprescription drugs using Robitussin products. Robitussin DM is listed four times. Two of the listings gave the guaifenesin monograph and the other two gave the dextromethorphan monograph. Dosage information for these products was incomplete and usually referred the user to the product label.
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|Author:||Smith, Steven R.|
|Publication:||Journal of Family Practice|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1996|
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