Recommended

MedlinePlus – DrugTherapy

MedlinePlus - DrugTherapy contains information about common prescription & over-the-counter medication types and helpful information about medication use. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources about medications, organized by condition treated or drug class. There is helpful information about how to properly use medications, including by age range, drug safety, antibiotic resistance, and drug reactions. Although limited by lack of information about specific drugs, this MedlinePlus section is recommended as a starting point to learn about general aspects of medication use.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z drug type or topic list. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the drug category and numerous links to additional information about the drugs. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to taking medication. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.

Visual Design

The pages are visually simple, with many different links to outside sources, that may become overwhelming. Few images populate the pages here, but the topics explored often have links to multimedia, especially videos.

Quality

Users can explore many sources of information about common classes of prescription & over-the-counter medication. Details about specific drugs is excluded in favor of important information about taking medications. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for drug class summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the Food and Drug Administration, National Library of Medicine, and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education & Research. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally credited on the linked sites.

Pros

  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with general information about prescription & over-the-counter medications and using them properly
  2. Links to reliable information about different types of medication by class or condition treated, with information about how to properly use them, antibiotic resistance, and drug reactions
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and relying on materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. The number of conditions, drug classes, and topics about medication use covered are very limited
  2. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external source
  3. 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, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, specialist finder, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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