Methodology for the analysis and representation of the medical information about drugs in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC). (1/79)

We present a methodology for the representation of the medical knowledge in the drug SPCs. It includes four steps, the two first of which are automated. All instances of a particular SPC text are gathered into a single file. Lexical analysis of the content of this file is performed and a lexicon with the occurrence of words and groups of words is built. Semantic analysis is carried out considering the concepts underlying each word of the lexicon and the most important concepts are kept. This semantic analysis results in a list of attributes which are then included in an object-oriented model. We have used this method to structure drug indications. This application clearly illustrates the advantages of this method over purely manual analysis. This method could be generalized for all categories of medical information about drugs.  (+info)

Dutch hospital drug formularies: pharmacotherapeutic variation and conservatism, but concurrence with national pharmacotherapeutic guidelines. (2/79)

AIMS: This research examines current hospital drug formularies (HDFs) of all Dutch general hospitals. It assesses the extent to which they recommend the same drugs, the breadth of their coverage in terms of therapeutic areas, drug groups incorporated and individuals drugs included, and their extent of conservatism by considering the year of introduction of the drugs included within groups. Furthermore, it considers the extent to which their recommendations concur and comply with those of national pharmacotherapeutic guidelines and the WHO Essential Drugs List (EDL). METHODS: Seventy-eight (81%) out of all 96 current Dutch HDFs were received of which 62 were suitable for study. Differences between HDFs and eventual associations with hospital characteristics were researched by statistical testing and case-control studies. To evaluate HDFs' concurrence with national guidelines and compliance with the WHO EDL, nine drug groups were studied in detail: benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers, beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents, ACE-inhibitors, angiotensin-II inhibitors, NSAIDs, H2-receptor antagonists, 5HT3-antagonists, and H+-pump inhibitors. Concurrence and compliance with national guidelines and the WHO EDL was defined as inclusion of recommended drugs. Non-concurrence was defined as inclusion of nonrecommended drugs. RESULTS: The total number of indications addressed and drug groups incorporated within HDFs varied from 28 to 72 (median 56) and from 30 to 123 (median 97), respectively. The total number of individual drug entities (pharmacological substances) included ranged from 239 to 658 (median 430) and the total number of drug products, including all different dosage forms, from 412 to 1121 (median 655). Within drug groups, drug entities first marketed were most frequently included. Teaching hospitals were most likely to include recently marketed drugs. Depending on the drug group, HDFs' concurrence and compliance with national guidelines and the WHO EDL ranged from 35% to 100%. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that Dutch HDFs are rather uniform in the indications addressed and the drug groups incorporated. However, the number of individual drug entities and drug products included within groups varies considerably. Furthermore, Dutch HDFs are considered rather conservative, as older drugs are favoured over more recent drugs. Generally, with some drug exceptions, Dutch HDFs concur and comply with recommendations in national pharmacotherapeutic guidelines and with the WHO EDL over 90%.  (+info)

Physician perceptions of a national formulary. (3/79)

OBJECTIVE: To assess the perceptions of US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) physicians regarding effects of a National Formulary (NF) on patient care, access to drugs, physician workload, and resident training approximately 1 year after it was implemented. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to attending physicians working within the VA healthcare system. Participants included general internists (n = 2824), neurologists (n = 238), psychiatrists (n = 997), general surgeons (n = 429), and urologists (n = 152). The response rate was 45%. RESULTS: Most physicians (63%) thought that they could prescribe needed drugs; 65% agreed that patients could obtain needed nonformulary drugs. One third disagreed that access to prescription pharmaceuticals had increased; 29% stated the NF impinged on providing quality care to their own patients, and 21% thought it did so to patients from other VA facilities. Thirty eight percent of physicians perceived the NF to be more restrictive than private sector formularies; 16% thought that the NF diminished the ability to train residents for managed care. Forty percent thought that the NF added to workload. Generalists more often perceived that the NF improved their ability to provide care compared with neurologists (27% vs 18%, P = .046), psychiatrists (27% vs 22%, P = .027), and internal medicine subspecialists (27% vs 18%, P = .001). Physicians with more clinic time were more likely to perceive that the NF increased workload. CONCLUSION: Although differences of opinions among physicians were noted, most responding VA physicians did not perceive that the NF adversely affected patient care, access to pharmaceuticals, physician workload, or resident training.  (+info)

Building a retrospective collection in pharmacy: a brief history of the literature with some considerations for U.S. health sciences library professionals. (4/79)

This paper argues that historical works in pharmacy are important tools for the clinician as well as the historian. With this as its operative premise, delineating the tripartite aspects of pharmacy as a business enterprise, a science, and a profession provides a conceptual framework for primary and secondary resource collecting. A brief history and guide to those materials most essential to a historical collection in pharmacy follows. Issues such as availability and cost are discussed and summarized in checklist form. In addition, a glossary of important terms is provided as well as a list of all the major U.S. dispensatories and their various editions. This paper is intended to serve as a resource for those interested in collecting historical materials in pharmacy and pharmaco-therapeutics as well as provide a history that gives context to these classics in the field. This should provide a rationale for selective retrospective collection development in pharmacy.  (+info)

Commercially available folic acid supplements and their compliance with the British Pharmacopoeia test for dissolution. (5/79)

A recent report suggested that some folic acid preparations available in the United States failed to meet the specifications for dissolution specified by the US Pharmacopoeia (USP), of 70 per cent drug release in the first hour of testing. The Teratology Society recommends that women of childbearing age should take a daily supplement of 400 microg folic acid when they are trying to conceive, to reduce the risk of foetal neural tube defects. The consequence of this failure to meet the USP requirements may be that an inadequate dose of folate may be absorbed and thus the expected level of protection against neural tube defects not afforded. The purpose of the present study was to examine a number of brands of folic acid (400 microg), available commercially in the United Kingdom, for compliance with the British Pharmacopoeia (BP) test for dissolution. Ten tablets (or capsules) from each of 11 brands were tested using dissolution apparatus compliant with BP requirements, using 0.1 M sodium hydroxide as the dissolution medium. The results indicated that four of the brands failed to release 70 per cent of the nominal drug content in the first hour of test and thus did not comply with the test. Two of the seven brands that passed the test went on to release more than 150 per cent of the nominal 400 microg drug content. These results highlight the problems of dose uniformity and the potential health risks of slow dissolution and under-dosing in commercially available folic acid dosage forms.  (+info)

In vitro evaluation of the quality of essential drugs on the Tanzanian market. (6/79)

We evaluated the in vitro availability and its stability under simulated tropical conditions of various formulations of four essential drugs marketed in Tanzania. We obtained 22 formulations (containing paracetamol, acetylsalicylic acid, chloroquine or sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine) from wholesale pharmacies in Dar es Salaam and the Medical Stores Department (Tanzania). The drug content, in vitro availability (dissolution) and its stability under simulated tropical conditions were determined using methods specified in the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) 24 monograph of the respective drugs. All formulations passed the pharmacopoeia requirements for the drug content. However, seven formulations (three acetylsalicylic acid, two sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine and two paracetamol) failed to meet the USP 24 tolerance limits for dissolution. Another five formulations (three paracetamol and two chloroquine) failed to meet the dissolution tolerance limits after being subjected to an accelerated stability test under simulated tropical conditions (75% RH/40 degrees C) for 6 months. The study has demonstrated the presence on the Tanzanian market of essential drug formulations that met potency requirements and yet had unsatisfactory in vitro availability as they were not robust enough to withstand storage under simulated tropical conditions.  (+info)

Comparison of various requirements of the quality assurance procedures for (18)F-FDG injection. (7/79)

The quality assurance (QA) requirements (i.e., test procedure, acceptance criteria, and testing schedule) for fludeoxyglucose (18)F ((18)F-FDG) injection listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP); the draft Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and the European Pharmacopeia (EP) were compared. The FDA Modernization Act of 1997 requires that the QA of compounded PET drug products be in compliance with the PET compounding standards and official monographs included in the USP. However, the "sunset" clause of the PET section within the FDA Modernization Act of 1997 stipulates that all PET drug products, in due course, must meet the requirements for drug approval procedures and current good manufacturing practice, and the FDA has issued a draft CMC that includes QA specifications for (18)F-FDG injection. The purpose of this article is to discuss the pros and cons of each of the QA tests stated in the USP, CMC, and EP and to propose a practical testing method for each required test, thereby helping end users to ensure the quality of the (18)F-FDG injection product. It is hoped that this article will stimulate further cooperation among various countries worldwide in the development of a set of harmonized and sensible QA standards for all PET drug products.  (+info)

Handheld computing in medicine. (8/79)

Handheld computers have become a valuable and popular tool in various fields of medicine. A systematic review of articles was undertaken to summarize the current literature regarding the use of handheld devices in medicine. A variety of articles were identified, and relevant information for various medical fields was summarized. The literature search covered general information about handheld devices, the use of these devices to access medical literature, electronic pharmacopoeias, patient tracking, medical education, research, business management, e-prescribing, patient confidentiality, and costs as well as specialty-specific uses for personal digital assistants (PDAs). The authors concluded that only a small number of articles provide evidence-based information about the use of PDAs in medicine. The majority of articles provide descriptive information, which is nevertheless of value. This article aims to increase the awareness among physicians about the potential roles for handheld computers in medicine and to encourage the further evaluation of their use.  (+info)