A drug interaction can be defined as a change in a drug's effect on the body when it's taken together with other drugs or reacting to certain other substances, sometimes even something as simple as grapefruit. A drug interaction can delay, decrease, or enhance the absorption of a drug, which can decrease or increase the action of either or both drugs or cause unwanted side effects.
Since a large number of new medications are introduced every year, new interactions between various drugs are also increasing. Also, multiple drug regimens carry the bigger risk of adverse interactions — in other words, the more medications you are on, the higher the risk that a few will interact with each other. In some cases, the effect will be minor. In others, however, interactions can be extremely dangerous.
This is the reason why it is no longer practical for clinicians to rely on memory alone to avoid potential drug interactions. Many of them use mobile apps, mostly the comprehensive drug reference tools, which also include drug interaction checker features. Some of these interaction checkers come as standalone apps.
Here, we have listed some of the most popular drug interaction tools for physicians and their patients.
The Drugs.com website is one of the most popular, comprehensive and up-to-date source of drug information that is also available as a free Android and iOS app.
The app allows users to search through an extensive drug database to get a variety of medication-related information. One of the features included is an interaction checker which checks for a medication's potential interactions with other medications and supplements, as well as particular medical conditions, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
The Medication Guide app is made for both healthcare providers and patients, and the users can switch from one version to the other at any time.
Pocket Pharmacist is an app made by clinical pharmacists for patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses, students, and other healthcare professionals.
The app is a comprehensive resource for a wealth of drug information, which also includes a very useful interaction checker, medication organizer and reminder, and chat and forum. Interaction Check is easy to use, and the tool is just as simple to understand for users to ensure medication compatibility. It has built-in alerts for potentially life-saving interactions, precautions and side effects for two or multiple medications.
The Pocket Pharmacist app is free, however, it's only available on iOS.
Our score: 87%
Micromedex Drug Interactions App
Micromedex Drug Interactions is designed for clinicians, allowing them to check a patient's medication list for potentially harmful interactions. Indications are provided with severity ratings that range from contraindicated to minor.
The app explains why particular drugs interact and how those interactions will present in the patient. It then provides recommendations for monitoring patient outcomes.
The Micromedex Drug Interactions app is available for free on Android and iOS, but only if clinicians are subscribed via their institution. If not, they'll be prompted to pay $2.99 to use the app.
The Medscape app is the world's leading medical resource database, which was developed by WebMD and is used by the largest number of physicians, medical students, nurses and other healthcare professionals who want to access comprehensive medical information regarding drugs and their interactions, medical and surgical procedures, conditions, latest medical articles, continued medical education (CME) opportunities, and more.
One of the most important parts of the app is its Reference section that contains information regarding conditions, procedures, and drugs, including a handy drug interaction checker that uses a search field, thereby allowing users to quickly look up a particular set of medications and view if there are any interactions between the chosen drugs.
The Medscape app is free to download and use and it's available on both iOS and Android.
Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) has been used by generations of physicians as a trusted source of the most current medical information to support drug prescribing decisions and improve patient medication adherence. It is now also available as a mobilePDR app, which allows healthcare professionals to easily and quickly access detailed drug information, compare drugs and choose the best for their patients, and identify unlabeled pills.
Healthcare providers can also use the mobilePDR app to quickly and easily identify potentially harmful drug interactions by simply entering two or more medications and checking for any interactions. The app uses a simple color-coded system to indicate interactions as mild, moderate, major or severe.
It is good to know that mobilePDR doesn't only check for interactions between medications, but also checks if certain supplements may interfere with a patient's current treatment. The app is available for free on Android and iOS.
Tarascon Pharmacopoeia App
The Tarascon Pharmacopoeia app is another popular and trusted portable drug reference used by many clinicians. It contains vital drug information on thousands of drugs to help clinicians make better decisions at the point of care. Besides extensive drug information from the print Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopoeia, the app includes 45+ invaluable drug reference tables and about 15 dynamic calculators, as well as detailed pediatric drug dosing and an interaction checker that allows for quick multiple drug interaction checking.
The app is available on iOS and Android and it requires a yearly subscription for $39.99.
CVS Pharmacy App
The CVS Pharmacy app is a retail pharmacy app that allows consumers to order and pay for their medications and refills directly from their smartphones. The developers also added a drug interaction checker to the app, with the goal of warning consumers when the OTC medications they want to order might interact with other drugs they are taking.
The CVS interaction checker allows users to scan the barcodes on OTC medication packages by using their phone camera or to enter the name of the drug to bring up a list of potential interactions. Customers who have a myCVS online account don't even have to do this. The CVS Pharmacy app would automatically check the OTC drugs against the patient's pharmacy history.
The app is available for free on Android and iOS devices.