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Drug Information Resources. Joe Pozdol, MLIS Norris Medical Library pozdol@usc.edu. Learning Goals. To understand the magnitude of health information available today To be able to classify questions as background or foreground

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drug information resources

Drug Information Resources

Joe Pozdol, MLIS

Norris Medical Library


learning goals
Learning Goals

To understand the magnitude of health information available today

To be able to classify questions as background or foreground

To understand the differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary resources

To be able to determine ultimate questions and classify them by drug information type

To be able to use Drug Facts and Comparisons, Epocrates, Lexi-Comp, Micromedex, and Clinical Pharmacology

the growth of medical information
The Growth of Medical Information


Indexed Citations Added to MEDLINE (i.e. PubMed) by Fiscal Year

U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Reviewed 25 March 2009.http://www.nlm.nih.gov/bsd/stats/cit_added.html#1

pair activity assessing what you already know
Pair Activity: Assessing What You Already Know

For a drug information question, which would you consult?

List a pro and a con for each resource.



background questions
Background Questions

Question is broad in scope

Answer is general knowledge in field

Can best be addressed with tertiary resources

E.g. Is a drug available in the U.S.?

What is a drug’s mechanism of action?

When is a drug contraindicated?

foreground questions
Foreground Questions

Question is narrow in scope

Answer may require examining new or conflicting evidence

Can best be addressed with secondary and primary resources

E.g. How effective is a new drug when compared to

drugs that are already on the market?

Are there clinical trials supporting an off-label use of a

drug in a specific population?


Resource Types:




primary resources
Primary Resources

Scientific journals

Provide original studies or reports

E.g. Clinical trial, case series, case report

Good for foreground questions

Scope is narrow

Good when topic is new or new data has been published

primary resources12
Primary Resources


Most current evidence

Provide data on new drugs

Can personally assess validity of studies


May not lead one to best decision because of limited scope

Data can be poor or controversial

Every study has limitations

Too complex for patients

secondary resources
Secondary Resources

Bibliographic databases that provide abstracts or full-text of studies

Good for foreground questions

secondary resources14
Secondary Resources


Can construct searches to find specific information

at high granularity


Often require more expertise to use than primary or tertiary


Retrieved references must be filtered for quality

Must track down resources before looking for answers

Too complex for patients

tertiary resources
Tertiary Resources

Compilations of knowledge in the field

E.g. Textbooks, handbooks, online drug compendia

Good for background questions

Scope is broad

tertiary resources16
Tertiary Resources


Provide comprehensive information

Information reflects views of multiple experts in field

Fast, easy to use, and may be good for patients


Usually at least 2 years out of date by publication

High dependency on interpretation of authors**

**Pharmacists can address this by consulting at least

2 tertiary resources to find corroborating information

When trying to answer a clinical question, the best strategy is often to consult resources in the following order:

Tertiary, Secondary, Primary

Tertiary resources are good when:

The answer to a question is basic factual knowledge in the field

The question was studied extensively and a conclusion was made

Many experts have addressed the question and agree on answer

Secondary and primary resources are good when:

A question is new and has never been studied

There is no consensus among experts; various opinions abound

There is conflicting evidence and the question needs further study

determining the ultimate question
Determining the Ultimate Question

44 y.o. male

High blood pressure

Rx ACE inhibitor

Develops dry cough

Real Estate Agent Last Dec.

Ultimate Question:

Is cough a side effect of ACE inhibitors?

Question Type:


Resource Type:


Major Concepts

(i.e. search terms):

ACE inhibitors, side effects, cough

categorizing the ultimate question
Categorizing the Ultimate Question

**Adverse effects





**Drug interaction







**Therapeutic use

**Especially relevant for Medication Therapy Review assignment

pair activity
Pair Activity

List 3 facts about Ambien (ZolpidemTartrate) OR Insomnia

drug facts and comparisons
Drug Facts and Comparisons

Search for information about Ambien (ZolpidemTartrate)


pair activity23
Pair Activity

List 3 facts about Proventil (Albuterol Sulfate) OR Asthma


Search for information about Proventil (Albuterol Sulfate)


pair activity25
Pair Activity

List 3 facts about Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) OR Depression

lexi comp

Search for information about Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride)


pair activity27
Pair Activity

List 3 facts about Aricept (Donepezil Hydrochloride) OR Dementia


Search for information about Aricept (Donepezil Hydrochloride)


pair activity29
Pair Activity

List 3 facts about Zyrtec (Cetirizine Hydrochloride) OR Allergies

clinical pharmacology
Clinical Pharmacology

Search for information about Zyrtec (Cetirizine Hydrochloride)


topic recap
Topic Recap

Excess of Medical Info

Background v. Foreground

Tertiary, Secondary, Primary

Ultimate Questions

Drug Facts and Comparisons




Clinical Pharmacology

the big picture
The Big Picture

Obtain background info/understand context

Determine ultimate question

Select and search appropriate resources

Evaluate and analyze information found

Draw conclusion and formulate response

Addressing a Drug Info Need

medication therapy review assignment
Medication Therapy Review Assignment

References used to support recommendation:

Due Dec. 4


Student 1 Google



Student 2 Drug Facts and Comparisons


Please fill out an evaluation:

Class: Drug Info Resources

Date: 9/11/09

Instructor: Joe Pozdol