Pharmacotherapy on the Web

The Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy 2000;1:500. 

Grapefruit Juice Drug Interactions, Quackwatch, Clinical Pharmacology 2000, Pediatric Pharmacotherapy, Canadian Drug Products Database, Healthy PalmPilot, Internet FDA


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Sites previously reviewed

Grapefruit Juice Drug Interactions, Quackwatch, Clinical Pharmacology 2000, Pediatric Pharmacotherapy, Canadian Drug Products Database , Healthy PalmPilot, Internet FDA

Name of site:

Grapefruit Juice - Drug Interactions Homepage

Type of site: Specialized drug interaction database
Authoring organization: Dean Elbe, B.Sc.(Pharm.)
Sponsors: None stated.
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners and patients.
Completeness Score (/5) 4
Credibility Score (/5) 4
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): This site provides one-stop shopping for clinicians seeking information on which drugs interact with grapefruit juice as well as descriptions of the significance of the interactions. Pulling together this information from general databases could be very time-consuming for clinicians.
Commentary: The site is kept fairly up to date and is very well referenced. Of particular use is the listing of unconfirmed but potential interactions (which may be hard to find elsewhere) and the list of confirmed LACK of interactions for certain drugs.
URL of site: http://www.powernetdesign.com/grapefruit/
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Health Canada Drug Product Database

Type of site: Drug database
Authoring organization: Health Canada
Sponsors: Health Canada Therapeutic Products Program (Federal Government of Canada)
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners in Canada
Completeness Score (/5) 5
Credibility Score (/5) 5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): It allows practitioners to quickly find out which products are marketed in Canada, by whom, strengths, and search by brand name, generic name, DIN, or manufacturer.
Commentary: Health Canada keeps this site up to date, so a product will be listed in the database within days of it being marketed in Canada. The database includes all non-prescription products as well (provided they are regulated by Health Canada).

For those seeking a product that contains a certain ingredient (say, in a combination product) the database allows searches by active ingredients.

Useful cross-referencing is provided and many sections of the database entries are linked to other similar entries, which makes finding and choosing a product easier.

Products such as herbals, which are not regulated by the TPP are not included in the database.
URL of site: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb/drugs-dpd/
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

  

Name of site:

Clinical Pharmacology 2000

Type of site: Drug information database
Authoring organization: Gold Standard Multimedia
Sponsors: Gold Standard Multimedia
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners of all types.
Completeness Score (/5) 5
Credibility Score (/5) 4.5
Usability Score (/5) 4.5
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Facilitates clinical decision-making by allowing quick access to a variety of databases including current, in-depth, referenced drug information, a drug interaction database, a product identification database, drug comparison tables, IV compatibility data, and adverse reactions.
Commentary: This is truly the gold standard of drug information and prescribing information sources on the web. It has formerly been available only to paying subscribers but is now open for free access. This appears to be supported by advertising, some of which is by the pharmaceutical industry. The editors state, however, that advertisers have no input into the editorial process. Most of the editorial board is composed of Pharm.D.-trained drug information specialists.

Monographs are well referenced, dated, and current. The database includes investigational drugs once they reach Phase III studies and includes selected popular herbal products.

The index pane on the right works particularly well and eliminates large amounts of "back"-button use on the browser.

Innovative features: Ability to create detailed patient medical records, including medication profiles on the server. When viewing a drug monograph, click on the "Rx" icon to open up the 'prescription writer' which allows prescribers to fill in fields and print a legible prescription which can be given to the patient or faxed to the pharmacist. A comprehensive list of laboratory tests including reference values. Users can even modify the results ranges to suit local needs.

Overall, this site is a very valuable resource, and as long as it remains free to access, may cause some to consider abandoning expensive drug information database subscriptions.
URL of site: http://www.gsm.com
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Pediatric Pharmacotherapy

Type of site: Medical information
Authoring organization: University of Virginia Health Sciences Center: Children's Medical Center
Sponsors: None
Of particular interest to: Pediatric pharmacotherapy practitioners
Completeness Score (/5) 4.5
Credibility Score (/5) 4
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Stated goals are to provide a brief, referenced, peer-reviewed source of information specifically related the to initiation and monitoring of medications in children in the primary care setting. This site will help users stay abreast of current issues in pediatric pharmacotherapy.
Commentary: This site is an excellent source of up-to-date information for health care professionals specifically looking for pediatric pharmacotherapy topics. The items covered are often very timely, well-written and extensively researched. The main topics covered in each newsletter are often items for which it can be difficult to quickly locate reliable information (e.g. Ciprofloxacin use in children: a review of recent findings. 1998, volume 4, issue 12).
URL of site: http://www.med.virginia.edu/cmc/pedpharm/pedpharm.html
Reviewed by: Carlo Marra, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Quackwatch

Type of site: Database and discussion of dubious medical practices
Authoring organization: Quackwatch, Inc., headed by Stephen Barrett, MD.
Sponsors: Quackwatch, Inc. No corporate sponsors or ties of any kind.
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners and anyone with an interest in studying the validity of questionable therapies.
Completeness Score (/5) 4
Credibility Score (/5) 4.5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): It allows quick access to a very large database of articles written by health care professionals (mainly physicians) on questionable treatments which are in demand by many patients or aggressively marketed. This allows pharmacotherapy practitioners to provide their patients with an educated opinion about therapies which are not discussed in the medical literature, but are in high demand by patients nonetheless.
Commentary: Most of the articles are referenced as well as they can be (considering the lack of available evidence for many of the treatments). Some very useful articles about the methods used by purveyors of dubious products enable readers to hone their skills of healthy skepticism. Most of the information is very current (less than 2 years old) and is updated frequently. Where links to other resources are appropriate, they are provided.

Overall, this represents the most useful database of dubious medical therapies that I am aware of on the web.
URL of site: http://www.quackwatch.com
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Healthy PalmPilot

Type of site: Repository of downloadable health care resources for Palm OS devices
Authoring organization: Eric Tam, MD (Web Master)
Sponsors: Appears to be unaffiliated.
Of particular interest to: Any healthcare worker who uses a Palm OS device.
Completeness Score (/5) 4.5
Credibility Score (/5) 4
Usability Score (/5) 4.5
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): This is a good site for geeks to visit on a frequent basis to determine what health-related freeware/shareware applications are available for Palm OS devices. User-based ratings are also provided. 
Commentary: The site is updated regularly. As of April 7, 2000, there are 505 resources listed for download. That should be enough applications available to make PDA believers out of the even the most skeptical. 
URL of site: http://www.healthypalmpilot.com
Reviewed by: Peter Jewesson, PhD, FCSHP

Name of site:

Internet FDA

Type of site: Government Agency Website
Authoring organization: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. F.D.A)
Sponsors: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. F.D.A)
Of particular interest to: Anyone interested in the U.S. F.D.A.-related information regarding heatlhcare issues.
Completeness Score (/5) 4.5
Credibility Score (/5) 4.5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): This site will help users access information pertaining to drug-related issues in the U.S.. This is an source of extensive U.S. F.D.A.-based information on a variety of topics including foods, human and animal drugs, medical devices, biologicals, bioengineered foods, toxicological research and many other topics.
Commentary: Check out the MedWatch section. This is the U.S. F.D.A. medical products reporting program. As described by the authors "... MedWatch, the FDA Medical Products Reporting Program, is an initiative designed both to educate all health professionals about the critical importance of being aware of, monitoring for, and reporting adverse events and problems to FDA and/or the manufacturer and; to ensure that new safety information is rapidly communicated to the medical community thereby improving patient care..."

Continuously updated and permits on line reporting as well). Very useful downloadable PDF files.

URL of site: http://www.fda.gov
Reviewed by: Peter Jewesson, PhD, FCSHP

Copyright � 2000 by the Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy. All rights reserved.