Sunday, November 13, 2011

Drug Information: Lexi-Comp

Posted by Eric Zhao at Sunday, November 13, 2011

This month, I'm excited to help write for a drug information program known for both its online and mobile platforms:

I'm looking at you, Lexi-Comp

Working with a previous University of Michigan College of Pharmacy alumnus as my preceptor, I help write and update drug-drug interactions for the program. Some examples of the interactions are those between carbamazepine/non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, levodopa/iron salts, and oxcarbazepine/phenytoin, among others.

The Process
1. Initial Search:
The initial search involves a very broad query in PubMed for the interacting drugs, and if there are a reasonable number of hits (around 200 or less), we begin screening abstracts for possibly pertinent articles. Sometimes the query produces over several thousand results, so we employ alternative search strategies (e.g., using limits, excluding "review" articles, etc.).

Some sort of national database

2. Screening:
After combing the abstracts, I can usually narrow the article list down to about a quarter of the original number. Here's where I access and skim the articles to see if they will be useful for the write-up. This narrows the list down even further.

3. Write-up/Update:
Once I determine which articles will be useful for an evidence-based write-up, I determine a strategy. Ideally, my final list involves articles that provide many different viewpoints of the drug interaction, which include primary literature and case reports. After thoroughly analyzing the articles, I begin writing the drug interaction monograph.

4. Upload: Prior to uploading, I review my drafted monograph with my preceptor for his opinion and expertise. If all goes well, my preceptor will remotely log-in to the database and upload our monograph. It's pretty neat to see the immediate changes on my phone's Lexi-Comp application after uploading.

This rotation allows me to practice my literature searching skills while providing a lot of autonomy. My preceptor gave me several projects that he wants finished before the end of rotation and it's up to me to prioritize and deliver (i.e., I set my own schedule). During our meetings, I inform him of what I have been working on, and he lets me know my progress. That said, I'm going to get back to my projects.

-Eric Zhao

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