There are wide variety of online resources focused on providing consumer health information about currently used pharmaceuticals. When researching drug information, it is important to consider the source of the information, to make sure that you get accurate, unbiased information. Some good places to begin searching for drug information include:
Drugs at MedlinePlus - MedlinePlus is a consumer health information website run by the National Library of Medicine. They cover a variety of topics related to health and medicine. Their drugs and herbal supplements page provides basic information and summaries on medicines by brand or generic name. The summaries are written in lay terms and cover what the medicine is used for, how it is used, special precautions, side effects, general information and what to do in case of an overdose.
Drugs.com - One of the most popular commercial drug information websites, Drugs.com is another good place to find easy-to-understand information. Their information is slightly more in-depth than what can be found on MedlinePlus. The website also contains a drug interactions checker and a pill identifier, which allows for searching by color, shape and imprint.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration - The Drugs@FDA resource allows searching for drug information by name. This website will give you the labeling requirements for FDA approved drugs, including approval history and modifications to labeling requirements. You can also find information on drugs awaiting approval, or drugs that have been discontinued.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine - This governmental agency is responsible for researching and evaluating the effectiveness of alternative and integrated medicine. The "Health Topics A to Z" section of their website provides consumer health information by treatment or condition. The website summarizes the current research on usage of alternative treatments on a wide variety of medical conditions.
The National Library of Medicine has two very good resources for finding further online drug information. A good portion of the information provided is intended for health care professionals and researchers, but there is a good deal of information provided that can be helpful for health care consumers as well.
National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal - This website from the National Library of Medicine is intended to provide a large variety of drug information available from the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies. Information sources are split into general summaries, or more detailed information. As well as links to general drug information, this website will also provide sources discussing the biological activities, drug identification, toxicology information, DEA information, and lists of important articles written about the drug in professional journals.
PubMed - This website contains the National Institute of Health's primary index of biomedical journal articles. The database itself indexes over 22 million journal articles, many involving drug studies. Due to the amount of information available, searching can be somewhat difficult to those unfamiliar to the database. However, this is the primary information source used by most health professionals.
Other Helpful Resources:
LactMed - Medications can be especially complicated for nursing mothers. This database discusses drug levels and adverse effects of drugs found in breast milk and nursing infants. It also lists alternative medications for drugs known to have adverse effects on nursing infants.
National Institute of Mental Health Medication Guide- This guide is provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. It provides helpful information on commonly prescribed mental health medications. It provides information on medications used to treat the most common mental health disorders.
Nemours Foundation KidsHealth Medication Guide- Provides drug information specifically for parents of children who may be taking these drugs. All information is focused on the drugs action in children rather than adults.
Vaccines.gov - Provides health information on commonly used vaccines. The website discusses what the vaccine is used for, potential adverse reactions, when vaccines should be administered and groups that may have reactions to specific vaccines.
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