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Medicine--Core Reference Materials

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What exactly is a core reference item?

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Drug Information (MEDLINEplus -- United States National Library of Medicine)
Concise and authoritative information on thousands of prescription and over-the-counter medications provided through two drug resources -- MedMaster™, a product of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) , and the USP DI® Advice for the Patient®, a product of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The information provided for each drug includes a list of applicable brand names, a description of what the drug is used for and what it can do, dosing recommendations, precautions and possible side effects, and storage recommendations. The information is arranged alphabetically by the first letter of [the] generic or brand name drug.

This resource is extremely straightforward and easy-to-use--a top-notch source of drug information -- from the text of the Web site.

Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [Grinnell]
Mark H. Beers and Robert Berkow
Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck Research Laboratories, 1999
ISBN 0911910107
17th edition (1st edition was published in 1899); 1 volume; 2800+ pages; moderately-detailed table of contents; a list of the editorial board and contributors with brief biographical information; extensive name and subject index.
The Merck Manual's "primary purpose ... to provide useful clinical information to practicing physicians, medical students, interns, residents, and other health care professionals" (from the Foreword). That said, this is the first place to go for information on human diseases--etiology and incidence, pathology, symptoms and signs, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, etc. The entries are concise, thorough, and understandable ... a must have resource.

Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy (Mark H. Beers, M.D., and Robert Berkow, M.D. -- Editors)
Web Site--Rating, Review, and How-to-use information
Merck publishes some of the most useful scientific reference works available including this publication--the world's most widely used general medical text (from The Web version of the paper publication immediately above.

Mosby's Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary [Grinnell]
Kenneth N. Anderson, Revision Editor
St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc., 1998
ISBN 0815146310
5th edition (1st edition was published in 1982, new editions published at 4-year intervals); 2000+ pages; extensive appendixes (medical terminology, nutrition, pediatrics, health organizations and resources, etc.); large type-face used; full-color illustrations.
Mosby's could be a one-stop source--its definitions are indepth and the information provided is comprehensive in scope and authoritative. The Dictionary is aimed at the health professional and student and thus the language used is at times somewhat complex and assumes the reader has prior knowledge of the subject matter. One of the special features of the Dictionary remains its color atlas of human anatomy.

Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR)
Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc.
The publisher now offers at least 10 different PDR publications in a range of formats including paper, CD-ROM, and via the Internet. 4 of the publications are highlighted below. The PDR publications were originally aimed solely at physicians but now are beginning to include information aimed also at consumers. That said, the PDR publications are written at a level that can seem hard to understand for the non-medical person.

Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) [Grinnell]
55th edition, 2001
1 volume; 3 indexes (brand and generic name, manufacturer, and product category); 3,200+ pages.
The original PDR publication and probably the best known, Physicians' Desk Reference provides manufacturer-supplied information on over 4,000 prescription drugs and includes a Product Identification Guide with more than 2,100 actual-size, full-color photographs of the drugs. The drug information provided includes ingredients, uses of the drug (indications), contraindications, precautions and warnings, adverse reactions, dosage and administration, etc.

PDR for Nonprescription Drugs & Dietary Supplements [Grinnell]
22nd edition, 2001
1 volume; 5 indexes (manufacturer, product name, product category, active ingredients, and companion drug index).
PDR For Nonprescription Drugs & Dietary Supplements provides "current information on 700 of the most widely used over-the-counter remedies, nutritional supplements, home diagnostic tests, and other self-care aids" (from the Foreword). Like the PDR, this publication contains a Product Identification Guide with full-color, actual-size photographs of the drugs and their packaging.

PDR Companion Guide [Grinnell]
55th edition, 2001
1 volume; 2000+ pages.
The purpose of the PDR Companion Guide is safe drug selection based on nine different criteria--interactions, side effects, food interactions cross-reference, indications, contraindications, an off-label treatment guide, cost of therapy guide, international drug guide, and a generic availability table.

PDR Generics [Grinnell]
4th edition, 1998
1 volume.
PDR Generics provides complete prescribing and pricing information for some 40,000 medications--both brand-name and generic. The pricing information includes the average package price and the average unit cost of each dosage form and strength.

Stedman's Medical Dictionary [Grinnell]
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000
ISBN 0781727286
27th edition (the 1st edition was published in 1911); 1 volume; 2000+ pages; extensive User's Guide.
Stedman's is an old standby in this area; a quality resource that has served well for decades. The Dictionary is organized in a way that may be unfamiliar to some--in main entry-subentry format and not the usual straight alphabetical arrangement. To aid in finding needed definitions, an extensive WordFinder is included in the User's Guide. The entries vary in length--most of the definitions are short. The Dictionary contains sporadic illustrations and tables and also includes a color atlas of human anatomy.

The Women's Complete Healthbook [Grinnell]
Roselyn Payne Epps and Susan Cobb Stewart, medical co-editors
New York: Delacorte Press, 1995
ISBN 0385313829
700+ pages; moderately-descriptive table of contents; a helpful list of editors and contributors with biographical information; subject index; a list of relevant associations and organizations.
Written and edited by an impressive array of women medical doctors, the Healthbook is an excellent and comprehensive resource covering the broad scope of the health-related needs and experiences of women. Written for women by women, the text hits just the right tone--not too complex, not too simplfied, not too indepth, not too general. A must have ...

How to find the above encyclopedias and other publications? See Step 3: Locate of the Information Strategy for details.

Questions? Please let me know.

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Updated 5:00 p.m. CT December 13, 2004
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