Drug Information App Reviews: Which Will You Choose?

My iPhone took an unfortunate spill the other day.  While laying out poolside, the temperature alert flashed across my screen.  In order to prevent spontaneous combustion of my precious little device, I ever so carefully wrapped it in the corner of my towel providing protection from the heat.  Later that afternoon in a mad dash to get to work, I snatched my towel from the chair sending my phone careening to the cement below.

Now, whenever I swipe my finger across the screen of my phone, tiny glass shards from the cracked screen embed themselves in my fingertips.  While my phone has seen better days, I just can’t get rid of it.  It’s essential to my day to day life.  Not only do I need my phone to coordinate my debatably robust social life, one of it’s most important functions is to get me through my workday.  Without my drug information apps, I would be lost.

Every provider, no matter how experienced, should have some sort of drug database handy.  With new drugs constantly developed and medication information rapidly changing, online databases are best.  Drug databases downloadable straight to your mobile phone are convenient allowing you to look up medication information on the go.  There weren’t many of these databases available when I was an NP student (remember the Palm Pilot?), but now there are a few great drug information products on the market, many of them free.  Here are the in’s and out’s of the most popular medication information apps:

  • Micromedex Drug Information

My personal pick for medication inquiries, the Micromedex Drug Information app is a must-have for NP’s when it comes to answering drug related questions.  This free app allows you to look up medications by name or class making it a handy resource when you need a specific class of medication but cannot recall a name.  Micromedex provides the following information about each drug: adult dosing, pediatric dosing, indications, contraindications, interactions, adverse effects, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics and more.  The user-friendly layout of the program allows you to quickly and easily identify the information you need creating a seamless transition to prescription writing.

  • Pocket Pharmacist

The Pocket Pharmacist app is a new find for me and has proven very helpful.  Drug information provided with the Pocket Pharmacist is written in an easy to read, less technical format than some other databases leaving the provider confident they have found an appropriate answer to the question at hand.  This informal tone may be particularly helpful if you are a new grad.  The easy to use, simply format of this program provides information regarding brand name, class, indications and dosage, precautions, interactions and drug side effects.  The interactions and side effects of each drug are clearly presented and easier to find (just scroll down) than in the Micromedex app.  Priced at just $1.99, this app won’t break the bank.  Overall, Pocket Pharmacist is an excellent pick for your mobile drug resource.

  • Epocrates

I have to admit I deleted Epocrates from my iPhone years ago.  In fact, I may have never even downloaded it on my iPhone and simply stopped using it once my Palm Pilot became obsolete.  I used Epocrates online from time to time but it never seemed to work quite right and the format of the program was nothing to write home about.  I’m happy to report, however that Epocrates has gotten a serious makeover.

I was shocked today when I downloaded the app to test it one more time before writing this review.  Handy little icons like “Interaction Check” and “Pill ID” sprawl across the screen of this program making information easy to find.  Users can search for drugs based on class, body system or name giving providers plenty of methods for locating a medication of interest.  Once a drug is located, Epocrates provides information such as pediatric and adult dosing, adverse effects, contraindications and more.  Manufacturer pricing is also listed coming in handy when treating patients with limited financial means. Despite long ago giving up on Epocrates, this free drug database may once again become my mainstay when it comes to medication inquiries.

You can’t go wrong with any of these three drug database apps.  While Micromedex has been my recent go-to, it looks like Epocrates is once again in the running for first place.

Which drug information app is your favorite?