Lauren M. Young, MLIS, MA, AHIP
Librarian & Instruction Coordinator, Reference and Research Services
ASHP Patient Medication Information (PMI) is a consumer-facing resource from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) providing drug information in both English and Spanish.
Updated monthly, the database features “leaflets,” or articles, that provide information on prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The articles feature lay language and helpful sections including how to administer medication, drug interactions to be aware of, and any cautions for older adults (ages 65+). Spanish-language articles are translated from their English counterparts by experienced Spanish-speaking medical translators rather than by computer program.
(Note: If this content sounds familiar but the name does not, the product underwent a name change in 2022, per correspondence with an ASHP representative in May 2022. Its former name was AHFS Consumer Medication Information (CMI), and some institutions and consortia still have it listed as such.)
ASHP is a recognized authority in drug information. As many of its products are offered as solutions to clinical environments, the association works in concert with national and federal entities that provide oversight in this domain. The resource lists the following accolades on its website:
- ASHP is a founding member of the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE).
- ASHP has been a Top Ten Award Winner in the Department of Health and Human Services National Consumer Education Materials Contest.
- ASHP conforms to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Keystone Guidelines for the provision of “useful” prescription medicine information to consumers and the FDA’s Guidance for Useful Written Consumer Medication Information. (https://connect.ebsco.com/s/article/What-is-ASHP-Patient-Medication-Information?language=en_US)
A search in the PMI database for “aspirin” yields 29 results, including plain-language descriptions of drug blends and delivery methods (e.g., “Aspirin and Extended-Release Dypiridamole,” “Aspirin Rectal,” and “Aspirin and Omeprazole”). Entries that appear further down in the results list include Spanish-language entries and entries in which aspirin receives non-titular mention (e.g., warnings and interactions with aspirin; variations of drugs that can be found in combination with aspirin).
Some results entries include associated subjects. The subjects listed for “Aspirin and Extended-Release Dypiridamole” include the following:
Subjects: ASPIRIN; DIPYRIDAMOLE; BLOOD coagulation; DICLOFENAC; DIFLUNISAL; ETODOLAC
These associated subjects demonstrate the ways in which researchers can approach their search: by disease, symptom, drug class, drug name, and more. The EBSCO interface allows for numerous Boolean-operated terms to be searched simultaneously.
Clicking on the hyperlinked title of an article in the results list will take researchers to the detailed record. The EBSCO interface, through which I have access to the resource, features the same detailed record elements seen across the EBSCO database family: the left-hand column offers the detailed record and HTML full-text links; the body of the entry contains numerous hyperlinked subject terms and brand names, the full-text word count, the article ascension number, and the HTML full text; and the right-hand column offers research tools including:
- Google Drive (patron can sync with existing Google Drive account)
- OneDrive (patron can sync with existing Microsoft OneDrive account)
- Add to Folder (patrons can create a cloud-based EBSCO folder)
- Export (offers a wide range of export options to commercially available and free bibliographic management software)
- Create Note
Entries provide the following sections, with a hyperlinked table of contents appearing at the upper-left header of the full-text HTML entry:
- WHY is this medicine prescribed?
- HOW should this medicine be used?
- Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?
- What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
- What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?
- What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?
- What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?
- What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?
- What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?
- What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?
- Brand Names
- Other Names
A pronunciation guide is provided to assist consumers with pronunciation and recognition of the drug name, and PMI in the EBSCO interface offers a speech-to-text audio option with MP3 download via ReadSpeaker WebReader. A link to the Spanish-language version is included (if available). The entries contain the following copyright information at the end: “This article is copyrighted. All rights reserved. Source: ASHP Patient Medication Information – English Version.” The publication is dated within the current calendar year — March 2022.
ASHP Patient Medication Information is listed as a licensable product on the ASHP website. In addition to its stand-alone option, ASHP PMI data can be found in a host of EBSCO databases including:
- Patient Education Reference Center
- Nursing Reference Center Plus
- Consumer Health Complete
- Health Source: Consumer Edition
- Health Source: Nursing/Academic
- Health Library
PMI boasts a partnership with MedlinePlus Connect to integrate into electronic health record systems for patient education purposes. A Quick Fact listed on the information page states the following:
“MedlinePlus Connect provides links to copyrighted drug information from American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, ASHP, Inc. Users of MedlinePlus Connect are prohibited from ingesting and/or branding this copyrighted content in their EHR or other health IT system. If you want to incorporate this content into your EHR or brand it, you must license the content directly from the information vendor. See our page on linking to MedlinePlus for more details.” (https://medlineplus.gov/medlineplus-connect/)
PMI is one of many resources offered by ASHP and its American Hospital Formulary Service (AHFS), including:
|AHFS Clinical Drug Information
|Your comprehensive, interactive treatment drug therapy solution to optimize your time and advance care.
|AHFS Drug Information
|Contains extensively updated monographs and revised therapeutic guidelines.
|ASHP Injectable Drug Information
|ASHP’s comprehensive guide to IV compatibility and stability.
|AHFS DI Essentials
|Provides dosing and drug interactions tables not found in AHFS Drug Information.
|ASHP Patient Medication Information
|License this trusted, independent resource that is the backbone of the consumer drug information of many popular websites.
|ASHP MedGuides Plus
|These guides contain issues specific to particular drugs/drug classes and FDA-approved information to help avoid adverse events.
|AHFS Pharmacologic Therapeutic Classification System
|The classification system has been used in health-systems for over 50 years to group drugs for easy comparison during P&T Committees.
|ASHP Drug Shortages
|Includes over 300 shortage bulletins on drugs, biologics, devices, and specific dosage forms delivered via API.
In summary, the ASHP Patient Medication Information Database offers plain-language medication information for consumers. The information is authored and copyrighted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and should be considered reliable and authoritative. The currency is above reproach; updated entries accommodate a swiftly evolving health sciences information ecosystem. Reading level is appropriate for literate adults. Dual-language pamphlets extend the database’s reach into the well-established Spanish-speaking patient and library patron population. The EBSCO interface provides ease of access and assistive technology features.
This product has relevancy for hospitals that have a burden to provide reliable health information to patients, as well as to public entities such as libraries, which desire to provide reliable health information to patrons.