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Pharmacy: Where can I find...

This guide has been written to help you with your study and research in pharmacy.

Where can I find...

 Basic, factual information, or background informationabout a drug, a disease, an intervention, or a concept can be found in dictionaries, encyclopaedias, textbooks, book chapters, government reports, and statistics. 

Library resources

AccessPharmacy provides access to a range of textbooks by McGraw Hill as well as multimedia, patient education materials, and a number of drug monographs to search for generics, trade names, drug classes and patient handouts.

ClinicalKey allows searching across multiple sources including books, journals, guidelines, trials, procedural videos, drug monographs and much more. Search across all source types or limit your search to one source type only. It's a point of care tool that allows busy clinicians to look up relevant information quickly while working with a patient.

MedicinesComplete is a platform that provides access to a range of resources including (but not limited to):

Clarke's Analysis of Drugs and Poisons;

Martindale: the Complete drug Reference;

Pharmaceutical Excepients;

Stockley's Drug Interactions and more.

Government websites

Government websites provide useful information regarding disease epidemiology, demographic, risk factors, and current policies in place. For Australian health information explore the following websites:

Statistics

For Australian statistics reports, refer to Australian Bureau of Statistics:

Health Industry Reports

For Australian and international reports on various health industries, explore the industry databases:

In-depth information about drugs and drug interactions can be found in a range of different resources, including drug reference resources and therapeutic guidelines. Below is a concise summary of several Australian resources providing drug information. No single resource will provide all the answers; explore each resource to find out what kind of information is available. Do not hesitate to ask your tutors and lecturers which resource(s) they use to answer specific questions.

Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH)

AMH is a national formulary developed by the professional bodies representing both the clinicians and the pharmacists. 

AMH is organised by chapters broadly grouped by therapeutic use related to a body system. The chapter structure follows a hierarchy, first listing the condition, then therapeutic classes used to manage the condition, and drugs falling within each of the classes. Each chapter is organised the same way.

AMH also enables a quick search. When searching for a drug name in a quick search box, AMH retrieves results relating only to this drug without providing additional context that otherwise could help better understand the drug’s therapeutic use.

The AMH also has calculators for body surface area, creatinine clearance + ideal body weight. When working with geriatric or paediatric population, explore AMH Aged Care Companion and the AMH Children’s Dosing Companion (hover over the big AMH logo).

MIMS Online

MIMS Online is a commercial database that compiles drug information from a range of sources including but not limited to TGA, PBS, WHO, ADEC and more. MIMS Online classifies information by the drug manufacturers, so here you will find a range of brand names associated with the drug in question.

To search, enter the drug name/brand or active ingredient into the quick search bar.

In MIMS Online you can get access to the abbreviated product information (PI), full PI (including chemical structure, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic data, and product image), Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), as well as to Pill ID, Drug Interactions, and Crush tools.

AusDI

AusDI is another commercial database that classifies information by the drug manufacturers and brand names. Here you can get access to Product Summary (PS), PI, drug monograph, CMI and product image. Product Identifier and Interaction and Safety tools are available, as well as a link to Martindale.

AusDI provides quick search option as well as multiple browsing options including browse by Indication and/or by Therapeutic class.

eTG Complete

eTG Complete is a consensus-based information resource that provides access to therapeutic guidelines. Each set of guidelines is put together by a multi-professional expert group of approx. 14 people that agree on its contents.

While there is drug information, a key focus of eTG is the management of disease with some drug information included. The eTG follows a similar body system organisation structure like the AMH. 

To search eTG, you can either browse by the Therapeutic Guidelines relevant to the therapeutic use of the drug in question; use quick search to type in the drug name; or use “Browse drug index” option that provides a drop-down menu of indications for the drug name entered.

Evidence-based syntheses, or summaries, of research on a particular topic can be found in systematic reviews or evidence-based summaries. 

To get a better idea of evidence-based practice and the hierarchy of evidence, go to the Evidence based practice subject guide.

 

Below is a summary of the three major evidence-based resources accessible via the library:

 

DynaMed is a clinician-focused tool that employs an evidence-based methodology to select and maintain its content. DynaMed publishes clinically-organized topics which are continuously updated. Content ranges from comprehensive reviews of diseases, conditions, and abnormal findings to highly focused topics on evaluation, differential diagnosis, and management. Drug and laboratory monographs developed and maintained by IBM Micromedex are also included.

BMJ Best Practice is an evidence-based point of care tool specifically designed to help with patient consultation, starting with symptom evaluation, testing, and treatment options. It covers 32 clinical specialties and 1000+ topics that guide the clinician through the entire patient journey. BMJ Best Practice includes assessment and conditions topics; diagnostic and treatment guidelines; Cochrane Clinical Answers; 500+ medical calculators; procedural videos; patient leaflets; EBM Toolkit and more. 

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on Ovid provide access to systematic reviews conducted as part of the Cochrane network. Cochrane is a non-profit organisation with membership in 130 countries worldwide gathering and summarising best evidence in research to help inform health decision-making. To learn more about systematic review process, explore the Library's Systematic Review Toolkit.

To find current research on a specific topic you need to conduct a search in one or several databases.

For a quick search with one or two keywords, use PubMed or Google Scholar:

 

For a comprehensive search for a literature review or a systematic review, use specialised biomedical databases, such as Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, ERIC (all via Ovid), and CINAHL (via Ebsco).  

  

Medline via Ovid is a specialised biomedical database that focuses on clinical areas and has a distinct North American geographic coverage. To search Medline effectively you will need to familiarise yourself with the idea of MeSH terms, or Medline Subject Headings - a controlled vocabulary used by Medline to allow searching for the article's meaning.

Embase via Ovid is a specialised biomedical database with the focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices with a distinct European geographic coverage. Embase also uses a controlled vocabulary, EMTREE, that differs from Medline's MeSH terms. 

PsycInfo is relevant for topics exploring psychological issues, including quality of life, behaviour change, attitudes, as well as qualitative studies.

ERIC is a database with a focus on pedagogy and will be relevant for topics dealing, for example, with patient education in paediatric settings or school-based health interventions. To access ERIC via OVID, go to the list of the library databases, browse by alphabet or search for ERIC in quick search.

CINAHL is another specialised biomedical database with a focus on allied health and nursing topics. It is hosted on a different platform, Ebsco, and is using a controlled vocabulary that is different from both Medline and Embase. Consider searching CINAHL if working on topics involving aged care, palliative care, or any allied health desciplines.

Multidisciplinary databases such as Scopus and Web of Science (WOS) are useful to search for topics that transcend disciplinary boundaries. WOS is particularly helpful for topics related to biochemistry.

 

For tips on how to conduct a comprehensive search in Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus and WOS, please refer to the Database search manual below: