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Reference Book of the Week: Physicians' Desk Reference

Welcome to another edition of Reference Book of the Week. This time we are featuring the Physicians' Desk Reference, more commonly known as the PDR. If you have been to a doctor's office, odds are good they may have a copy of this book on their desk. However, this is not just for doctors. The book is basically a large reference resource for pharmaceutical information. In other words, it provides drug information and prescription guidance. From the books foreword:
"The PDR contains Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling for drugs as well as prescription information provided by manufacturers for drugs historically marketed without FDA approval. Some dietary supplements and other products are also included. Each full-length entry provides you with an exact copy of the product's FDA-approved or other manufacturer supplied labeling."
The book is divided into six sections:
  • a manufacturer's index: list of manufacturers that participate in PDR with contact information and product list.
  • a brand and generic name index. It gives the page number for each product by brand and generic name. For example, let's say you want to find information for"bismuth subsalicylate." This section tells you that you can go to page 2651 of the volume to get it.
  • a product category index. It is a list of the products by prescribing category. For example, are you looking for "laxatives." The book in this section tells you that for "laxatives," you actually need to look under "gastrointestinal agents." You will then find a listing of "laxatives" under the larger category of "gastrointestinal agents."
  • a product identification guide. This is a color guide. It contains photos of tablets and capsules as well as a few other pictures of packages and doses. When it comes to doses, what it means is that you get a picture of a cup with the medicine on it to show what a dose would look like.
  • product identification guide. This is the main part of the guide. In other words, this is what most people using the PDR want. It covers 3,800 pharmaceuticals. The entries are alphabetical by manufacturer. So going back to our example above of "bismuth subsalicylate," this is where you go to page 2651. By the way, the brand and generic index told you also it is made by Procter & Gamble. If you still have not guessed, the brand name is Pepto-Bismol.
  • a diagnostic product information. This provides use guidelines for diagnostic tools.
The PDR is published by Thomson, and it is updated annually. There is a website that serves as a companion to the PDR, www.pdr.net. However, use of the site requires registration, which is restricted. It "is available free of charge to U.S.-based MDs, DOs, Dentists, Optometrists, NPs and PAs in full-time patient practice, and to U.S. medical students, residents and other select prescribing allied health professionals" (from the website). Non-medical users would have to purchase access. The PDR is kept in the ready reference shelves (behind the reference desk) under the call number Ref. RS 75 .P5 2008. The book is also a pretty common selection in public libraries.
Published by root on 12 Mar

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