More than 1.5 million Americans are injured by drug errors yearly, and at least a quarter of them are preventable, according to a recent report issued by the Institute of Medicine. To help clinicians prescribe more safely, Epocrates Inc recently announced the addition of new safety and monitoring sections to its mobile drug reference guide (available at www.epocrates.com). The new sections highlight black box warnings, as well as other safety and monitoring information, for the more than 500,000 health-care professionals in the Epocrates network.
FDA MedWatch Partner
"FDA MedWatch is committed to providing clinically useful drug safety informationimportant new prescribing information, recalls, and medication error alertsto doctors and other health-care professionals at the point of care," said Norman Marks, MD, medical director of the FDA's MedWatch program. "By partnering with companies such as Epocrates, we know that this safety and monitoring information will be available to doctors and patients when they sit down to make important decisions about the use of therapeutic and diagnostic products regulated by FDA."
Epocrates now prominently displays black box warning information, which is the FDA's most severe drug-associated warning, throughout its application. The FDA requires black box warnings for some medications that present a significant risk of serious or life-threatening adverse effects. The public visibility of these warnings has significantly increased in the last 18 months, as several blockbuster drugs for depression and pain management have now been required to include such warnings in their prescribing information.
Epocrates has also added a new safety and monitoring section as well as a section on pharmacology, which provides information on drug metabolism, excretion, class, and mechanism of action to help physicians better understand the properties of the drugs they are prescribing.
"The Institute of Medicine recommends that physicians check every drug a patient is on before prescribing a new one. This is why it is vital for clinicians to have safety and monitoring information, such as severe warnings, contraindicated patient populations, and guidelines for high-risk drug therapies, readily available," said Michael R. Cohen, RPH, MS, SCD, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. "I believe applications like Epocrates are even more essential to clinicians' daily practice by presenting this important information at the point of carewhen it is needed most."
All health-care professionals can have immediate access to drug safety, dosing, and cost information by downloading the free Epocrates Rx drug application.