Practical low-cost books on drugs and prescribing
National essential drugs list, national formulary, hospital formulary, institutional and national treatment guidelines. These are essential tools in your prescribing, as they indicate which drugs are recommended and available in the health system. If these references do not exist:
WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. See: The use of essential drugs (containing the latest model list) under WHO publications on p.86. In the absence of a national list, the WHO model list offers a good indication of effective, safe and relatively cheap essential drugs within each therapeutic category.
WHO treatment guidelines for common diseases, such as acute respiratory tract infections, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and other parasitic diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, leprosy and others. These are very useful references, based on international expert consensus. In many cases they are used by countries when developing their national treatment guidelines.
British National Formulary. London: British Medical Association & The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. This is a highly respected reference work containing essential information on a selection of drugs available on the UK market, with price indication. There are short evaluative statements for each therapeutic group. Although revised every six months, old issues remain a valuable source of information and may be available to you at no or very low cost.
Clinical Guidelines - Diagnostic and Treatment Manual. Paris: Médecins sans Frontières. Editions Hatier, 1990. This is a very practical book, which is largely based on WHO treatment guidelines for common diseases.
Major reference works
Avery GS. Drug Treatment. 2nd ed. Sydney: ADIS Press, 1987.
Laurence DR, Bennett PN. Clinical Pharmacology. 7th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1992.
Goodman & Gilman. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 8th ed. New York: McMillan Publications Co, 1992.
Martindale. The Extra Pharmacopoeia. 30th Ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1993
USP DI, Vol. 1.: Drug Information for the Health Care Provider, Vol. 2.: Information for the Patient. Under authority of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention Inc., 12601 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, Maryland 20832, USA.
Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, Consumers’ Association, 14 Buckingham Street, London WC2N 6DS, UK. Published fortnightly; offers comparative assessments of therapeutic value of different drugs and treatments.
Prescrire International, Association Mieux Prescrire, BP 459, 75527 Paris Cedex ll, France. Published quarterly; provides English translations of selected articles on clinical pharmacology, ethical and legal aspects of drugs, which have appeared in La Revue Prescrire.
The Medical Letter, The Medical Letter Inc. 56 Harrison Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801, USA. Published fortnightly; provides comparative drug profiles and advice on the choice of drugs for specific problems.
If you want to check whether an independent drug bulletin is published in your country contact: The International Society of Drug Bulletins, l03 Hertford Road, London N2 9BX, UK, or the WHO Action Programme on Essential Drugs.
The Use of Essential Drugs (including the 8th Model List of Essential Drugs). Geneva: World Health Organization, 1995. Technical Report Series 850. This booklet also contains the criteria for the selection of essential drugs and information on applications of the model list. The book is updated every two years.
WHO Model Prescribing Information. Geneva: World Health Organization. A series of authoritative booklets with unbiased drug information for the prescriber, including most drugs on the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Each module deals with one therapeutic group. The series is not yet complete.
WHO Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1988. This is the text of a WHO statement adopted by the World Health Assembly of 1988, setting out general principles which could be adapted by governments to national circumstances. Reprinted in Essential Drugs Monitor 17.
WHO Drug Information. Geneva: World Health Organization. A quarterly journal that provides an overview of topics relating to drug development and regulation. It seeks to relate regulatory activity to therapeutic practice.
International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for Pharmaceutical Substances. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1992. This book contains an updated cumulative list of officially approved generic names in Latin, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
Essential Drugs Monitor, Geneva: World Health Organization, Action Programme on Essential Drugs. Free of charge and published three times per year; contains regular features on issues related to the rational use of drugs, including drug policy, research, education and training, and a review of new publications.