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Reference Sources for Prescription Drugs  

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It is wise to know more about the drugs prescribed to you by physicians and there are various ways you can get them. Here are some of the ways:

Leaflets that accompany prescription drugs

Most prescription drugs, if you get it in the manufacturer's package, will contain a leaflet with information about the drugs and usually warnings about side effects and what kind of circumstances when it is not advisable to use the drug. Often, these leaflets may err on the cautious side where manufacturers' put in lots of warnings to protect themselves from being sued. There also have been cases where drug manufacturer have had to pay damages for withholding information from consumers about dangerous ill effects. Merck & Co., manufacturer of Vioxx (Rofecoxib), for example, had been accused of withholding information about increased risk of heart attack and stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use.

Physicians' Desktop Reference

This is a reference often used by physicians and they have 2 websites, PDR online (free for US medical professionals only) and PDR Health (free consumer drug and medical information site). There are some controversy over Physicians' Desktop Reference as it is financed by drug manufacturers and with some saying it lack of reporting of updated and accurate drug dosages along with adverse drug effects. Oftentimes dosage information can be taken from phase 1 trial information where clinical drug information is incomplete, resulting in higher PDR-recommended dosages than therapeutically effective dosages for many medications.



I like to search for information on drugs from Wikipedia. For example, if I want information on the prescription Prozac, I will type the phrase "prozac wikipedia" into the Google search box above, tick the radio button beside WEB and click "Search".

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Hand hygene alone is not sufficient to prevent spreading of infections in hospitals  

Sunday, February 3, 2008

With the appearance of alcohol-based hand gel, many doctors and nurses are skipping the soap and water scrub and using the alcohol-based hand gel instead to prevent the spread of infection-causing germs in hospitals. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says better hand hygiene by frequent washing or use of hand gels can cut the spread of hospital infections.

However, according to Dr. Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who led a study at the adjoining Nebraska Medical Center, that is not sufficient to prevent spread of infections in hospitals. Dr. Mark Rupp says rings and fingernails are too long and hard to clean. Poor handling of catheters and treatment areas are thus not sanitized. Dr. Mark Rupp's study was published in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Dr. Rupp study showed hospital-borne infections cannot be stopped by better hand hygiene alone as spreading of infections are not caused by person-to-person contact alone. Dr. Rupp made the suggestion that hand gels should be complemented with additional measures such as better cleaning of hospital units, proper insertion and maintenance of catheters, and doctors only prescribing antibiotics when absolutely necessary so that we don't get the emergence of more drug-resistant bacteria.He further recommended that hospital workers should not wear rings plus trim their fingernails beyond the Centers for Disease Control's recommendation of no longer than a quarter of an inch. Dr. Rupp claimed that bacteria are present even when nails extended just beyond the fingertip.


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