by: Aaron Stringfield, PharmD Student

There are nearly 150,000 preparations of prescription drugs out on the market. Now while much that refers simply to different formulations of the same drug, that’s still a lot of medications out there to learn and keep up with.

Whether learning them for the first time or trying to stay up to date in your clinical practice, there are a lot of resources out there to help. Comprehensive apps that include drug references (Medscape, Epocrates, UptoDate) are well known to many physicians. Micromedex is another well-known comprehensive resource. But these are generally reference, as opposed to learning, tools.

For learning drugs, one common app approach is flashcards. Mobile Pharm Phlash! focuses on 400 of the most frequently prescribed apps and providing the usual reference information but with other pearls and features relevant to the real-world.

1b

Mobile Pharm Phlash! Pharmacology flash cards, are designed by Valerie I. Leek, RNC-NIC, CMSRN and produced by the F.A. Davis Company – well known for their popular medical texts, Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary and Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses. This mobile flash card app colorfully highlights pertinent drug features, and lists patient counseling points for nearly four-hundred of the most frequently prescribed generic drugs.

It also features an audio link which, pronounces the chosen drug name through the devices external microphone. The interface is attractive – scope and depth of drug information covered is adequate, and although there are areas of functionality that could use an upgrade [see below], for the health care student learning pharmacology this app is worth considering.

2a

The home screen offers the user the option to view drug cards, organized by body system or on a one-by-one basis (389 cards, not in alphabetical order). No search function is available. This means that if the operator wants to locate a specific drug for review, they must scroll through multiple ( i.e. CNS category = 99 cards) flash cards. There is a way around this though (sort of). The user can select specific drugs for review, by bookmarking them, thus creating a separate list, found on the home screen for easy access.

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Flipping the card over, reveals monographic drug content. The amount of information provided is appropriate for quick review, and laid out in a concise manner. The “Teach Client,” section gives a brief run down of important patient counseling tips, and under the “Make the Connection,” heading, the author lists safety guidelines as well as clinical pearls on selected drugs.

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It’s not an easy task finding a happy medium between overwhelming, and over simplification, when deciding how much information to include on a flash card – but Davis Mobile Pharm Phlash cards strike that balance nicely. This application is great for students, who find themselves wanting to study in line at the coffee shop, or brush up on pharmacology during a rotation. There are, however a few elements not included [see tables] in the monograph section, that one should be aware of before purchasing the app ($19.99 Apple App Store/Android market).

3b

Likes:

  • Well summarized information, concise, does not overwhelm or underwhelm.
  • Attractive, smooth interface
  • Almost 400 of most commonly prescribed generic drugs
  • Off label uses included
  • No web connection required (native)
  • Audio pronunciation of generic drug name
  • Guidelines for ensuring patient safety and clinical pearls on selected drugs

Dislike:

  • No pharmacokinetic, common route, frequency information
  • Adverse reactions/side effects are not listed in a weighted fashion (i.e. no percentages)
  • No search function
  • Does not list references on the app
  • Organized by body system, instead of drug class

Overall:

  • The app has a very practical feel to it. Content, is derived from Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses and designed for the student that wants an on the go, study aid or quick reference. I personally use the application for pharmacology review on the exercise bike at the gym.
  • The lack of search function, and other mono-graphic elements, [see above] may deter some – but the quality of content is high, nicely summarized and complete.
  • The app is pricey (19.99 Apple App Store/Android ), but a review of other comparable pharmacology flash cards on Amazon.com lists suggests it is within the range of comparable apps – Lange Pharmacology Flash Cards (189 cards, from $18.99-$35.99), Brenner: Pharmacology Flash Cards (from $22-$36) and Sigler: Pharmacology Flash Cards (300 cards, from $21-$36).

iTunes Link