Drug Apps for your Phone

Image showing location of Micromedex on UCSF Library homepageA frequent question we hear from students and others is, “What is the best drug app available to me through UCSF?”

This topic is confusing and the “right answer” seems to change every few months. Stay tuned for the changes that are sure to come! The answer for now, however, follows.

Micromedex is available to you.

Steps to add it to your phone and gain access to the content:

Go to http://www.library.ucsf.edu. Consider doing this step on a device with a larger screen!

Find Micromedex (see image to left), click on that link, on the next page find the black Micromedex box (see image below). Click on that.

Image showing Micromedex homepage

That click-flurry brings you to Micromedex itself!

At the bottom right of the page you will see “Download Mobile Apps“, while here, copy the password in Step 4. You will need it to activate your app.

Next, bring out your mobile device, go to your app store of choice, locate and download the Micromedex app…

Enter the magic password you have already copied to activate the app.

An annoyance: you will need to update this password periodically.

Lexicomp. This one is not available for now.

As I understand the story, UCSF has a limited number of mobile licenses, they are all out in use.

However, Lexicomp is the drug database used in the UpToDate app, so if you have UTD, you already have Lexicomp. If you want the UTD app, follow these steps:

  1. Access UpToDate from the UCSF Library homepage (library.ucsf.edu). This should also work through the UTD link in APeX.
  2. Create a personal account.
  3. Download the UTD app from you app store of choice to your mobile device. You are allowed to add UTD app to two devices.
  4. Sign in to the app with your personal account information. You should be good to go!

Note: This process can be a bit persnickety. Let us know if you have problems.

Epocrates is part of AthenaHealth since 2013 but they still make a good, free drug app.

See this page: https://www.epocrates.com/products/features for info. Create an account and you can download the free version. I really like the pill identifier feature. They have a drug interaction module as well. Quite a bit to like about this app. As you can see there is a premium version but the $175 price tag is too much for what you get.

The Drugs.com app received good reviews. I added it to my phone, but cannot recommend it due to the large number of ads and the somewhat sparse information presented. If you pay $4.99 you can get rid of ads for a year. The drug information appears to be the same material found on package inserts. The app has a set of additional features similar to those in Epocrates. These include a pill identifier, an interaction checker, side effects, symptom checker, and more.

Bottom line: For a solid basic drug reference, Micromedex will do fine for you. If you already have UTD on your phone or plan to add it, try looking up drugs in UTD and see if you are satisfied with the information you find. More bells and whistles? Try the free version of Epocrates.

Do you have other options you would recommend? If so, respond to this post.

Questions? Contact evans.whitaker@ucsf.edu.


About Whit

Whit is the Education and Information Consultant for Medicine at UCSF Library.
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