Pharmacotherapy on the Web

The Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy 2001;5:500. 

Do Bugs Need Drugs?, HandHeldMed Mobile Abstracts, Allied Journal Club, CDC Hoaxes and Rumors Site, Ontario Program for Optimal Therapeutics

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Do Bugs Need Drugs?, HandHeldMed Mobile Abstracts, Allied Journal Club, CDC Hoaxes and Rumors Site, Ontario Program for Optimal Therapeutics

Name of site:

Do Bugs Need Drugs?

Type of site: Information about antibiotics, treatment and resistance.
Authoring organization: Capital Health Region (Edmonton, Alberta), Alberta Clinical Practice Guidelines, University of Alberta, Alberta Lung Association
Sponsors: IMS Health, Videon, Abbott Laboratories, Dynacare Kasper Medical Laboratories, Aventis, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Deb Canada, GlaxoWellcome, Janssen-Ortho Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc., SmithKline Beecham, bioMerieux, Glo Germ, Mistahia Health Region, Health Canada, Yellowhead Tribal Council
Of particular interest to: Healthcare professionals, occupational health practitioners, parents, children, teachers.
Completeness Score (/5) 4.5
Credibility Score (/5) 4.5
Usability Score (/5) 5
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): For health care professionals, this site provides and alternative source of infectious disease treatment recommendations with a Canadian flavour. 
Commentary:

This site has all sections of "Bugs & Drugs Antimicrobial Pocket Reference 2001" available as a free download in Adobe PDF format.  When you get to the antimicrobial pocket reference page URLs, don't forget to scroll down to see all the available sections offered (e.g.. empiric therapy, prophylaxis recommendations, pregnancy/lactation...), as not everything you need are available in the "Clinical Antibiotic Guidelines".

Also a great resource for parents, teachers and children to learn about the basics of handwashing, resistance and common infectious ailments. The site features special sections designed specifically for teachers, parents, the general public, kids, occupational health, and health care professionals.

URL of site: http://dobugsneeddrugs.org
Reviewed by: Anne Nguyen, PharmD

Name of site:

HandHeldMed - Mobile Abstracts

Type of site: Journal abstracting service for mobile computers
Authoring organization: HandHeldMed.com
Sponsors: Supported through banner advertising and sales of software products.
Of particular interest to: Any health professional who owns or is considering owning a handheld computer (eg. Palm Pilot, Visor, Pocket PC)
Completeness Score (/5) 3
Credibility Score (/5) 5
Usability Score (/5) 4
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Provides table of contents and article abstracts for major journals which can be downloaded to your Palm OS-based portable computer.
Commentary: If you are a handheld computer user, the number one reason to install and use AvantGo (available for FREE download at AvantGo.com) is the fact that you can carry the JIP with you  wherever you go (see the JIP Mobile Edition page).  The second best reason to run AvantGo is that HandHeldMed now provides access to the Table of Contents and article abstracts of 29 major journals which you can carry with you on your Palm or CE device.  Best of all, the service is completely free.  As an avid Palm user, I've been trying various ways of getting this kind of information onto my Palm so I can keep abreast of the literature while on the bus, in my car, while snowboarding or on the 15th teebox.  This service makes it easier than any method I've devised.  The major general medical journals are all on the list (e.g. JAMA, Ann Intern Med, Lancet, BMJ, NEJM) and they claim that "hundreds" more are on the way.  I'm hoping CMAJ and Archives of Internal Med are on the way.  For other subscpecialites and disciplines, there are already several journals which may be of interest (eg. Nursing Outlook, American Journal of Epidemiology).  

The Journals run as individual "channels" in AvantGo and most occupy less than 50kb each in memory.  The AvantGo application itself consumes about 500kb of memory. It is easy to delete the channels once installed, and adding new ones requires a visit to the HandHeldMed.com site.

Although HandHeldMed.com was featured in Issue 4 of the JIP, I think this new service is an excellent reason to pay them another visit... and download AvantGo.   

URL of site: http://www.handheldmed.com/mobilecontent.php
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Allied Journal Club 

Type of site: Journal surveillance site.
Authoring organization: Muhammad Zuberi, a Toronto pharmacist
Sponsors: None named.
Of particular interest to: Any health care professional seeking quick access to journal abstracts or current literature on specific therapeutics topics.
Completeness Score (/5) 4
Credibility Score (/5) 5
Usability Score (/5) 3
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Provides a quick way of locating the contents of specific journals without visiting each journal's site.  Also facilitates quick PubMed searches on specific therapeutics topics.
Commentary: More than anything, this site is a clever way to search the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database.  Muhammad Zuberi's site, which is obviously a labor of love, allows users to view the citations from 25 individual journals (including Pharmacotherapy and Annals of Pharmacotherapy) by issue or search across 150 journals for articles on selected therapeutics topics.  The site contains no content of its own, but provides a simple and quick (but limited) interface for accessing PubMed.  Since the author is a pharmacist, the topics are nicely suited to issues germaine to drug therapy.  Users can also subscribe to receive free e-mail updates from as many journals as they wish.  

This site recently won Honorable Mention in Pharmacy Practice's 2000 Commitment to Care Awards for Hospital Pharmacy. 

URL of site: http://www.alliedjournalclub.com
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Hoaxes and Rumors Site

Type of site: Information about current health-related hoaxes and rumors.
Authoring organization: U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 
Sponsors: CDC
Of particular interest to: Pharmacotherapy practitioners and physicians interested in the pharmaceutical industry's influences on health care.
Completeness Score (/5) 2 (not intended to be a comprehensive site)
Credibility Score (/5) 5
Usability Score (/5) 5
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?): Prevent perpetuating false health-related stories on rounds or in the cafeteria.
Commentary: In keeping with the traditions set by urbanlegends.com, QuackWatch and computer virus hoax sites, the CDC has launched this informative site which takes aim at health hoaxes and rumors circulating in the lay press and on the internet (WHAT? the Internet as a source of RUMORS?).  Not surprisingly, the stories the site deals with seem to be focused on infectious diseases-related issues (eg. needlestick hoaxes, transmission of HIV through the air) which have come to the CDC's attention.

The next time you hear a surprising story about a disease being transmitted via fiber-optic cables, check this site.

URL of site: http://www.cdc.gov/hoax_rumors.htm
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Name of site:

Ontario Program for Optimal Therapeutics

Type of site: Guidelines for management of common conditions.
Authoring organization: Ontario Program for Optimal Therapeutics
Sponsors: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Of particular interest to: Primary care physicians and pharmacists.
Completeness Score (/5) 2 (only seven guidelines published)
Credibility Score (/5) 4
Usability Score (/5) 3
Why is it useful? (what will it help me DO?):  Provides clear, mostly evidence-based guidelines for management of osteoporosis, CHF, stable ischemic heart disease, OA/RA/MSK injury, GERD, diabetes and anxiety.
Commentary: Through a process of literature review, multidisciplinary expert opinion-gathering, and consensus building, the OPOT site has published guidelines for management of seven diseases in primary care.  The guidelines themselves are concise, use algorithms and tables extensively and are thoroughly references.  

The relationship between this group and the Ontario government's drug benefit plan is not explicitly mentioned on the site.  The process of guideline development is described and does not appear to include involvement of pharmaceutical industry representatives.

URL of site: http://www.opot.org/
Reviewed by: Peter Loewen, Pharm.D.

Copyright © 2001 by the Journal of Informed Pharmacotherapy. All rights reserved.