Drugs.com website is best known as an online pharmaceutical encyclopedia, which provides drug information about drugs, interactions and side effects, as well as information about clinical trials, latest news, etc. It was designed primarily for consumers and healthcare professionals in the USA.
Several years ago, Drugs.com developed and released the app as a very useful medication reference, which brings website's features to mobile devices. The goal of the app was the same, i.e. providing comprehensive and up-to-date information about medications, which was adapted for both consumers and healthcare providers. An impressive list of resources, including Micromedex, the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists, and Mayo Clinic, is used to meet this goal.
The Medication Guide app allows users to search a variety of medication related info, including drug monographs, or pregnancy and breastfeeding database. Users can also use an interaction checker or pill identifier, including a side effect database. The main difference between professional and patient version of the app is that information for medical professionals is more patient-oriented, while the patient version includes a financial info, i.e. cost database for popular drugs. The most important thing is that you may switch your version and toggle from one to the other at any time.
But, let's start from beginning. Upon the installation and starting the app, you'll be greeted with the company logo, after which you'll be prompted to choose your version, i.e. you'll be asked if you prefer using the app as a medical professional. If you choose No, you'd be using a version for patients.
For this review, we've of course chosen to use a professional version, but we didn't miss to check patient version as well, so we could have an insight in both and compare one to another.
As both medical professional and patient, you'll see a variety of options on the home screen, from My Med List, FDA alerts and monographs, to symptom and interaction checker, or Dosage. Some of these features will require an internet connection, because a lot of information within this app can't be seen offline.
First feature listed on the home screen is My Med List, which requires free registration through the app. Creating a free account allows you to save your personal drug list, and have all relevant medical information assembled in a simple, easy-to-read personalized format, which includes in-depth consumer information, FDA alerts, drug interactions, as well as interactions with food, allergy and medical conditions. It's important to note that the app doesn't require an account for general use. Besides the ability to create your own personal list of medications, account information is used to provide targeted ads in the app (you can opt-out from at any time).
Probably, one of the most important and most impressive features for healthcare professionals is Resource List, which provides access to healthcare information from the most trusted and respected sources, such as FDA, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Harvard Health, Truven Health Analytics, etc.
However, main focus of the Drugs.com website and its app, is providing comprehensive and accurate information about various types of medications. All this information is provided within different sections, so you can check it separately from drugs by class or condition, or thanks to the Pill Identifier feature, which unfortunately doesn't offer visual help, i.e. images of the medications. You can also check dosage, side effects and interactions, whether with other drugs, or with particular medical conditions, or pregnancy and breastfeeding.
We noticed that the Drugs.com app's drug database is really extensive. It provides FDA labeling in the professional version, while the patient version has more lay-friendly language. Either way, the app allows users to search for medications in a vast list of brand or generic names.
Patients who have difficulty pronouncing names of certain drugs will find Phonetic Search feature very useful. This feature allows you to type the drug name the way it sounds, and the app should find the right drug. It also offers a list of most common misspelled drugs, which may ease the search.
Another useful feature is Symptom Checker supported by Harvard Medical School , which broadens the scope of this app from being a simple drug encyclopedia to full scope medical app. Symptom Checker helps users understand their medical symptoms and make responsible decisions regarding their health and wellness. It's made in intuitive way, offering users an option to choose symptoms for Man, Women or Child, as well as the parts of the body where symptoms occur. Answers that could indicate an emergency offer a recommendation to see a provider immediately, while common conditions may suggest using typical remedies before seeing a provider if there's no relief.
While Drugs.com Medication Guide app continues the tradition of its parent website as the most popular, comprehensive and up-to-date source of drug information, with huge and robust database, it should be noted that it only includes package insert info, which may not always be consistent with current guidelines or manufacturing information. Also, the side effect checker lacks the ability to rank information provided on relevance.
Still, with the addition of few unique features such as Phonetic Search or Symptom Checker, Drugs.com Medication Guide holds the throne as the most comprehensive and accurate drug info source.
Benefit: All healthcare professionals and patients who want to learn more about the drugs, dosage, interactions and side effects.