Finding reliable drug information

It can be difficult to find reliable information in medications on the web.   As with all websites,  you need to ask yourself who created this site and what’s the intent.  Websites about specific drugs are often created by pharmaceutical companies and are for marketing purposes.  Be skeptical of site with a .com address: and  [for Prilosec] are intended to sell the drug. There still could be useful information there, but you’re better off using sites intended to produce factual objective information.  It’s also a good idea to think twice about health related websites that have a lot of advertising.  Ads appear on a site based on the search terms entered, so they may look like factual information.   Although they should be labeled,  sometimes the font size is so tiny it’s not easy to tell what’s actual content and what is an ad trying to sell you something.

DailyMed Logo Header imageDailyMed is a site produced by the National Library of Medicine. It is easy to search and provides extensive, current information about a drug.  There is FDA package inserts,  prescribing info, adverse effects and a link to search the medical literature in PubMed for articles about the medication.  Have some old medicine bottles are house?  The product ID section can help you tell what kind of pill  it is using the color, size and markings.


mplus_sm-724x145_0Another good source of medication information is MedlinePlus. This site also includes reliable information on herbs and supplements in addition to prescription and over the counter drugs.   It’s important to know when a health care website was created or last updated to make sure the info is current.  Each MedlinePlus page lists this at the bottom.    MedlinePlus is also a good source of patient information in several different languages


ToxNet Part of TOXNET is Drugs and Lactation Database [LactMed] “A peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. Among the data included are maternal and infant levels of drugs, possible effects on breastfed infants and on lactation, and alternate drugs to consider.”


The FDA has responsibility for approving FDAall drugs that are sold in the United States. There is a search feature on the website where you can search the approval history of a specific medication.

Marilyn Dow