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Drug Information Resources

Introduction
Provincial regulatory authorities have outlined the required list of resources necessary for community pharmacy practice. This unit identifies drug information resources that may not be stipulated in regulation in each province, but which practitioners have nonetheless identified as very useful. Resources to assist pharmacists in finding information and evaluating the literature are included as well, along with a complete list of Regional and Provincial Drug Information Centres.

Standards of Practice
This unit supports Standard #3 of NAPRA's "Model Standards of Practice for Canadian Pharmacists". "The pharmacist identifies, retrieves, evaluates, interprets, and provides appropriate drug and pharmacy practice information to achieve safe and effective patient care." 

Where to Find Drug Information
MacCara et al (1997) published "Drug Information Resource: A Guide for Pharmacists", a list of reference sources that are useful in answering drug information questions. The sources are organized under 15 categories, which typify frequently asked questions.

The Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP) published "Recommended Drug Information References for Hospital Pharmacists" in 1995. The list was compiled with input from hospital pharmacists and drug information specialists across Canada and is still current. The list includes recommended references (textbooks, newsletters, databases and journals) according to specific subject headings. The references have been divided into three categories: Essential, Basic and Secondary. Supplier information and prices are listed where available. The list is applicable to community and hospital practice and is available from CSHP.

What Did Our "Leading Edge" Colleagues Recommend?
Useful references identified by leading edge practitioners (in addition to references required by regulation in their provinces) include:

Regional and Provincial Drug Information Providers in Canada
For more information, please visit http://www.safemedicationuse.ca/tools_resources/poison_centres.html.

Evaluating the Drug Literature
The department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University Health Sciences Centre (1981) published a series of four articles to assist in evaluating the clinical literature. Articles are referenced in the bibliography below.

1.       Sackett DL, How to read clinical journals: I. Why to read them and how to start reading them critically. Can Med Assoc J 1981: 124: 555-558.

2.       Haynes RB. How to read Clinical journals: II. To learn about a diagnostic test. Can Med Assoc J 1981:124: 703-710.

3.       Tugwell PX. How to read clinical journals: III. To learn the clinical course and prognosis of a disease. Can Med Assoc J 1981: 124; 869-872.

4.       Trout KS. How to read clinical journals: IV To determine etiology or causation. Can Med Assoc J 1981 124: 985-990.

Cuddy et al (1983) also published a series of articles to assist in evaluating the medical literature, referenced in the bibliography that follows.

1.       Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part I: Abstract, Introduction, and Methods. Ann Int Med 1983:12:549-55.

2.       Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part II: Statistical Analysis. Ann Int Med 1983:12:610-620.

3.       Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part III: Results and Discussion. Ann Int Med 1983:12:679-86.

The Internet as a Source for Drug Information
The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) maintains a list of information resources for the public and health care professionals, available on the Internet.

How To File Drug Information
MacCara et al (1999) have published "Pharmacy/Drug Information: Where Do You File It?", a scheme to help pharmacists organize all the ephemeral information they have collected/accumulated in the pursuit of providing drug information to consumers and fellow health professionals.

In addition, the authors envision a scheme which pharmacists can download from the College website on the Internet and adapt for their own use. This hierarchical scheme covers most facets of pharmacy knowledge --- with the goal of categorizing and organizing the many topics in which pharmacists have an interest.

Bibliography

1.       MacCara ME, Foy E, and Bower J. Drug Information: Where do you find it? Division of Continuing Pharmacy Education, College of Pharmacy, Dalhousie University: 1997.

2.       Recommended Drug Information References for Hospital Pharmacists: Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists Official Publications 1997, Section Y4

3.       Fraser B. Major Drug Information Centres in Canada: Drug Information Centre Exchange: 1997.

4.       Sackett DL, How to read clinical journals: I. Why to read them and how to start reading them critically. Can Med Assoc J 1981: 124: 555-558.

5.       Haynes RB. How to read Clinical journals: II. To learn about a diagnostic test. Can Med Assoc J 1981:124: 703-710.

6.       Tugwell PX. How to read clinical journals: III. To learn the clinical course and prognosis of a disease. Can Med Assoc J 1981: 124; 869-872.

7.       Trout KS. How to read clinical journals: IV. To determine etiology or causation. Can Med Assoc J 1981 124: 985-990.

8.       Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part I: Abstract, Introduction, and Methods. Ann Int Med 1983:12: 549-55.

9.       Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part II: Statistical Analysis. Ann Int Med 1983:12: 610-620.

10.   Cuddy PG, Elenbass RM, Elenbass JK. Evaluating the Medical Literature Part III: Results and Discussion. Ann Int Med 1983:12: 679-86.

Emergency Contraception