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MedlinePlus – Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements

MedlinePlus uses this page to provide a comprehensive overview of prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, and herbal supplements. The drug information is uniformly well-sourced, easy to understand, and geared to a wide variety of audiences.

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Review Date: 11/16/2018

Scoring

Ease of Use

Drugs are organized alphabetically so visitors can choose where to begin their search. Each drug/herb/supplement, when clicked, leads to a text-only page of information. The landing page
also includes links to the MedlinePlus medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the medication. Some pages require a lot of scrolling to reach the end of the page. Otherwise it's fairly straightforward.

Visual Design

The landing page has pictures and different menus to navigate. Each menu page is predominately a list of medications and products lacking images or multimedia to engage the reader.

Quality

Details about specific drugs are FDA-approved information that comes directly from the manufacturer. Herbs and supplements content is carefully researched and referenced. Most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites. Not all pages are fleshed out with the same depth, but overall this is a small complaint given the wealth of information.

Credibility

MedlinePlus is transparent about those organizations responsible for its curated content. These reputable organizations include the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Dietary Supplements, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, and more. MedlinePlus also routinely reviews its pages, further increasing its credibility.

Pros

  1. Comprehensive, up-to-date, and detailed information about all aspects of each medication
  2. Materials are written in plain language and can be grasped by a wide variety of audiences
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and relying on materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. User-friendliness of materials varies depending on the external website referenced
  2. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Drug warnings

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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