Boulder City Magazine® September 2007 Issue
by Duncan R. McCoy, Director
Boulder City Library
Medical Reference Books
This month we’ll learn about two major and reliable medical reference books you can find at the Library: the Merck Manual (18th ed., REF 611 M) and the Physician’s Desk Reference, otherwise known as the “PDR” (REF 615.11 P). Both of these fat volumes will help you understand about real medical conditions, symptoms and accepted treatments.
Boulder City Magazine®
|The Merck Manual contains topical articles covering medical conditions and is approached through the index in the back of the book. I saw a TV ad the other night for a condition called “Restless Leg Syndrome” and wanted to know if the condition was real or just another advertising creation, designed to sell you a drug you didn’t know you needed. So I looked it up in the index of the Merck Manual and found an article on page 1843, describing the condition and the various medications and dosages commonly prescribed.
The Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) is an encyclopedia of prescription drug information and pharmaceuticals directory. I find most valuable the “Brand and Generic Name Index” in the front of the volume and also the section of color illustrations of pills, bottles and packages useful if you find old pills in the medicine cabinet and want to identify them. Articles on individual drugs are technical and include chemical formulas, conditions for which the drug is typically prescribed and (maybe most important for us) information on drug interactions. A newer section in the PDR covers drug interactions with herbal dietary supplements.
All of us are constantly bombarded by TV ads, junk mail, and internet spam about alleged medical conditions and the pills and preparations the advertisers want us to buy. Before you spend your money, do check to see if the medical condition described in the promotion is real. If you can’t find the condition described in the Merck Manual, be very suspicious. If the drug they want to sell you can’t be found in the PDR, be very suspicious. It is vital to consult your physician before you decide you have this or that disorder and then waste your money or maybe wreck your health trying to medicate yourself.
You can find out more by visiting our web site at www.bclibrary.org
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Boulder City, Nevada 89005
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