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The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Health & Wellness

Learning About Your Medications

The CDC estimates that almost half of Americans currently take at least one prescription medication.  Prescription and non-prescription drugs have become an integral part of modern day medical treatment.  However, it can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming to know where to find information about these drugs.  This article focuses on some helpful resources online and within the library for finding information about drugs and medications.

Print Resources:

 Physician's Desk Reference - Currently in its 66th edition, the "Physician's Desk Reference" has long been a go-to source for prescription drug information.  The book is largely aimed towards medical professionals, but contains lots of useful information for the average user as well..  The current edition of the "Physician's Desk Reference" can be found in the reference department in any of our Springfield-Greene County branches.  Previous additions are available for check-out as well.


 PDR Consumer Guide to Prescription Drugs - Also published by the PDR Network®, this book on prescription drugs is written in plain language for the average health consumer.




  Complete Guide to Prescription and Nonprescription Drugs - Provides easy-to-understand consumer health information for the most commonly used drugs.  This book is also available online through the library's EBSCO Consumer Health Complete database (library card required).



 The Pill Book -  This book contains short summaries of medical information for commonly prescribed drugs.  An excellent source for quick summaries and important information on your medications.




 Physicians' Desk Reference for Nonprescription Drugs and Dietary Supplements - This item contains the same type of in-depth content as "The Physician's Desk Reference", but covers nonprescription drugs and dietary supplements.





Additional Books of Interest:

 The Merck Index : An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals - This book contains more technical durg information, but is an excellent source for in-depth information on commonly encountered chemicals and drugs.



 The Family Guide to Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements - This is an excellent place to find information on commonly used vitamins and supplements.




 Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine - This title gives objective, evidence-based information on commonly used alternative medicines.  The book covers vitamins, herbs and supplements, but also discusses other alternative treatments such as yoga and accupuncture.



Online Resources

Start Here:

MedlinePlus Drugs, Herbs and Supplements -

This website from the National Library of Medicine, gives concise, easy-to-understand information on medication use, precautions, side effects and other information. They also usually provide links out to other helpful information.

Drug Information Online -

Contains simple, easy-to-understand information on medications. Also contains a pill identifier and drug interaction checker.

WebMD Drugs and Supplements

Contains drug information and links for prescription and nonprescription drugs as well as vitamins and supplements.

National Library of Medicine Drug Portal

The National Library of Medicine's all-in-one drug information searcher.  The website collates drug information from a variety of government sources and offers information that goes from basic to very in-depth.


Other Helpful Websites:

DailyMed -

Provides detailed drug information.  Contains information on non-FDA approved drugs and recent changes to approved drugs.  The website also contains detailed listings of adverse reactions, clinical studies, dosage and drug interactions.

Dietary Supplements Labels Database -

 Provides information about label ingredients from over 4,000 brands of dietary supplements.

Food and Drug Administration -

The Drugs@FDA link allows searching for information on specific drugs.  You can also get information on recently approved drugs, look at approval history, and view label requirements for drugs in current use.

Kids Health page from the Nemours Foundation -

Their medications page gives over-the-counter and prescription drug information as they relate to children.  The information is aimed at parents who want to know information about medicines their children may need to take.

Lactmed -

This is a resource for nursing mothers.  The website discusses drug levels and adverse effects of drugs found in breast milk and nursing infants.  It also suggests possible alternatives to harmful medications.

MoRx Price Compare -

Website for searching and comparing prices of common pharmaceuticals in Missouri pharmacies.  Allows you to find the lowest-priced pharmaceuticals in your area.

NeedyMeds -

Provides information on pharmaceutical companies' assistance programs available for specific drugs.  It also contains information on government assistance programs and coupons.

Office of Dietary Supplements -

Government website that provides health information on dietary supplements.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine -

Division of the National Institute of Health.  The website focuses on a variety of alternative treatment options.  It also has a database containing medical information on specific drugs, herbs and supplements.

Pillbox -

 Useful for drug identification.  Allows for searching by imprint, shape, color, size and scoring.  It then gives links to drug information after the pill has been identified.

Rx Assist -

Resource directory of assistance programs related to medications. Searchable by medicine with links out to available assistance programs for that particular medicine. -

Website run by the National Vaccine Program Office division of the HHS. The website provides vaccine information for vaccine preventable diseases, as well as information on the diseases themselves. It also has detailed vaccination schedules for all age groups.





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