Drug Information Center

Drug Information Center


       drug information services and its importance

       Sources of drug information

       Steps involved in answering DI query


After completion of this lecture, student will be able to:

       Explain the importance of drug information service

       Differentiate the sources of drug information

       Describe the steps involved in answering DI query

       Outline the requirements for establishing a DIC

Introduction to Drug Information Services


       Drug information refers to the provision of unbiased, well referenced and critically evaluated up-to-date information on any aspects of drug use

       Drug information centre (DIC) refers to the specialised facility that provides drug information to those who need it

Why Drug Information ?

       To meet an indicated demand from health professionals

       To support appropriate, cost effective drug use

       Enhance the quality of patient care

Providers of Drug Information

Should be:

       Knowledgeable about data storage and retrieval methods

       Able to objectively evaluate scientific literature

       Able to apply information to the specific patient situation

       An effective communicator with patients, health care professionals, administrators and the media

Drug Information Center

       A source of selected comprehensive DI for health care professionals

       Stored information is retrieved, selected, evaluated and disseminated in response to specific questions

Drug Information Resources

                There are three sources

       Primary (Journals)

       Secondary (Indexing & Abstracting Services)

       Tertiary (Text Books)

Primary Sources


       Provide the most current information

       Share opinion with other health professionals

       Keeps abreast of professional news

       Keeps up with the new developments in pathophysiology, diagnostic agents and therapeutic regimen


       No guarantee of accuracy

       Inadequacy of articles are common

Secondary Sources


       Valuable tools for quick and selective screening of the primary literature for specific information, data, citation and articles

       Provide sufficient information to serve as references for answering drug information requests

       Example- medline, medscape, IDIS, Pubmed, Micromedex


       Reviews a finite number of journals

       Usually describe only articles and clinical studies

       Abstracts are generally interpretations

Tertiary Sources


       Provide easy and convenient access to a broad spectrum of related topics

       Background information on drugs and diseases available


       Gap between recent developments and actual publication of books

       Omission of pertinent data

       Misinterpretation of literature possible


       Vast amount of unregulated health care information

       Offers both free and pay-per-view access

       Information is accumulating at a tremendous pace

       Planned search is more productive than simply browsing or surfing


       Relatively slow speed of retrieval

       Lack of control over internet content

       Essential to evaluate any facts critically



       DI services may use the systematic approach as the basis for responding to DI inquiries

       These approaches have application in any pharmacy practice area

       Use of modified systematic approach offers practice-related advantages

       Considered corner stone for ideal practice


       Responder is prompted to practice in a consultative capacity rather than technical manner

       Responder will perform efficiently

       Selection of resources may be more efficient

       Expanded documentation could be very useful for the practitioner


       Significant improvement in patient outcomes or administrative decision has not been proven

       Substantial energy expenditure in documentation


       Step I - Secure demographics of requester

       Step II - Obtain background information

       Step III - Determine and categorize ultimate question

       Step IV - Develop strategy and conduct search

       Step V  - Perform evaluation, analysis and synthesis

       Step VI - Formulate and provide response

       Step VII -Conduct follow up and documentation

Step I - Secure demographics of requester

       Receipt of enquiry

       Determine more directly the requestor’s position, training and anticipated knowledge

       Mechanism for delivery of the response

       Contact address

Step II - Obtain background information

       When background questions are used appropriately, the response to requests is very efficient

       Should be sufficiently comprehensive

       Should be specific for the nature of the request

General background information

       Should be obtained irrespective of the nature of query

       Requestor’s name, location/ contact number & affiliation (if HCP)

       Resources checked / used by the requestor

       Purpose of enquiry

       Mode of response

       Response time

Specific background information

       Depend upon category of question

        For example if the category of question is serum or urine therapeutic levels

       Is the patient currently receiving the drug?

       What is the disease or underlying pathology being treated?

       What was the source of sample (blood, urine or saliva)?

       What was the timing of the sample relative to the drug administration?

       What is the route of administration?

       What were the previous concentrations for this patient?

Step III - Determine and categorize ultimate question

       Important for effective use of the modified systematic approach

       Useful in the resource selection process



        General product information


       Investigational drugs


       Drug interactions


       Dosage and administration


       Poisoning/ toxicity




       Drug therapy selection

       Pregnancy and lactation

Step IV - Develop strategy and conduct search

       Prioritize the resources based on the probability containing the information / data desired

       Resources should be used based on probable efficiency rather than ease of accesses or degree of comfort


       Drug information service is important to meet an indicated demand from health professionals

       To support appropriate, cost effective drug use

       DI resources include primary, secondary and tertiary resources

       Answering a DI query should follow modified systematic approach which includes seven steps

       DI center should have a multidisciplinary team and adequate resources

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