Evaluation of adverse drug reaction formatting in drug information mobile phone applications


  • Sean M. McConachie Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University and Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, Detroit, MI
  • Dena Berri PharmD Candidate, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Jewel Konja PharmD Candidate, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
  • Christopher A. Giuliano Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Wayne State University and Ascension St. John Hospital, Detroit, MI




adverse drug reaction, clinical pharmacy information systems, drug information service,


Objective: To evaluate the differences in presentation (formatting) of adverse drug reaction (ADR) information within drug monographs in commonly used drug information (DI) mobile device applications.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of ADR formatting of twenty commonly prescribed oral medications within seven DI mobile applications was performed. Databases were assessed for ADR information, including presence of placebo comparisons, severity of ADR, onset of ADR, formatting of ADRs in percentile (quantitative) format or qualitative format, whether references were used to cite information, and whether ADRs are grouped by organ system. Data was collected by two study investigators and discrepancies were resolved via consensus.

Results: The seven DI mobile applications varied significantly on every analyzed ADR variable with the exception of ADR onset, which was absent in all databases. Significant differences were found for variables known to impact clinical judgment such as placebo comparisons and qualitative versus quantitative formatting. Placebo comparisons were most common among monographs in Lexicomp (30%) but were absent among monographs within other applications. Quantitative information was commonly used in most databases but was absent in Epocrates. Qualitative formatting was present in all Epocrates and Micromedex applications but absent in the majority of other applications. Substantial variations were also found in severity and grouping information.

Conclusion: Substantial variation in ADR formatting exists among the most common DI mobile applications. These differences may translate into alternative interpretations of medical information and thus impact clinical judgment. Health care librarians and clinicians should consider ADR formatting when choosing between DI applications.


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