Increasingly, the Web is being used as a resource for information about prescription drugs. Several Websites, including MedlinePlus have access to drug reference tools. The drug directory on MedlinePlus consists of information from two resources: MedMaster from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the USP DI Advice for the Patient from the United States Pharmacopeia. The information included here is the kind that pharmacies are increasingly giving to patients: the brand and generic names of the drug, why the drug is used, how the drug is administered, precautions, and side effects to watch.
The Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) has an online patient information drug resource available at no charge. The information provided is much closer to the kinds of information you will find from MedMaster and USP DI. However, the database searches more readily by brand name; searching by generic will refer you to a particular brand name drug. Another difference is the presence of images that show what the drug looks like. This can be very useful for someone trying to determine if they have been given the proper medication. The PDR and its sister publications are available on the Web, however, only for subscribers (at a fee).