This week, nurse practitioners in our inauguralThriveAP+class sat in on a presentation from pharmacist Dr. Jon Pouliot about medication interactions in the primary care setting. With so many of our patients taking multiple medications, it can be tough as NPs and PAs to keep track of interaction considerations, as well as drug side effects and dosages. So, helpfully, Dr. Pouliot ended the presentation by suggesting a few practical resources nurse practitioners and physician assistants can use for prescribing.

Selecting a single database as your go-to prescribing resource is recommended. This way, you must only familiarize yourself with one platform. You learn to gain the most amount of information possible from the resource in an efficient manner – a must for busy providers. So, check out these recommended resources and after a trial period select the one that fits best with your practice and preferences.

Drug databases come in two categories – free and subscription based. While prescribing resources accessed a cost tend to be more robust, there are a number of handy resources for NPs and PAs on a budget. Our pharmacy expert suggested that the following free resources are the most helpful for providers:

  1. Drugs.com – Contains basic pharmaceutical information including a pill identifier and interaction checker.
  2. Medscape – A reliable database also available as an app for on-the-go lookup. Includes information about dosing, interactions, adverse effects, pharmacology and more.
  3. RxList – A robust database providing detailed pharmaceutical information. Also includes helpful content about supplements.
  4. Micromedex – This user friendly resource provides all the basics you’ll need such as drug mechanism of action, generic names, common trade names, dosing information and more.
  5. Epocrates – A staple in the drug resource world, Epocrates is available as an easy to use app providing the relevant information NPs and PAs need to make prescribing decisions day-to-day.

If you’ve got some continuing education cash eating a hole in your pocket, or your employer has a slush fund for such expenses, subscribing to a drug information reference is a worthwhile investment for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. If you’re looking to take the plunge, check out the following resources:

  1. First Databank – The gold standard of drug references, First Databank is widely used by pharmacists and healthcare facilities nationwide.
  2. Epocrates (paid version) – Shelling out a few extra bucks to subscribe to the Epocrates app gives access to more detail and clinical information than the free version of the database.
  3. Lexi-Comp – Easy to use and chock full of drug information, the Lexi-Comp app is a thorough and well referenced prescribing resource frequently referenced by pharmacists themselves.

What are your favorite drug references?


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