Review of Tarascon ePharmacopoeia for PDAs
by Marty Couret, MSN, NP
The Tarascon ePharmacopoeia is the complete and upgraded electronic version of its popular pocket medication guide. Not only that but it is free at Medscape.
The ePharmacopoeia is organized extremely well. Tabs down the left side of the opening page allow the user look up medications via drug class, by drug name, or by common drugs that the user has selected. Searching by class of drug is extremely efficient and systematic. However, searching by drug name was less user friendly. Unlike ePocrates after putting in a few letters, the medication list will scroll down but not highlight the drug name. The user is forced to scan approximately 12 medications to find the one desired. Of particular interest is the tab labeled common. This function allows the user to list medications that are used frequently and find them quickly. The top tab is labeled tables. Within the tables are lists of useful information such as medications commonly used during pregnancy, inhaler colors, and emergency contraception.
Each medication page has the same abbreviations and symbols that Tarascon users have come to understand. Medication pages automatically opens to the adult doses with abbreviations for the method of metabolism, pregnancy category, safety in lactation, DEA controlled substance, and cost across the top. For those who are unfamiliar with Tarascon symbols, selecting the category will provide the user with the symbol translation. Across the bottom are tabs for pediatricss, forms, notes by Tarascon, personal notes, and a little skull and cross bones symbolizes warnings. There is even an Rx symbol that is set up for future prescription writing software.
There are a few things that I would change about the ePharmacopoeia. Frist, I would have a drug/drug interaction function that would list interactions between medications. Second, I would have liked the information on each medication page to be better spread out, everything was crammed together like the Pocket Pharmacopoeia making it difficult to find the desired information in a timely fashion. Third, I would have liked to set preferences so that I could choose my own set up of the program.
Overall this is a great reference tool. It expedites the process of searching out proper medication doses and other necessary information. I think the search by drug class is superior to its competitor ePocrates, but on most other levels ePocrates is superior.
To find out more about Tarascon EPharmacopoeia go to Medscape.com.