The Drugs and Medications app is a drug information app with some neat features initially launched by Kavapoint LLC in 2009. It has had several updated versions since then. Drugs & Meds claims to be the top medical app for doctors in 2014 and a top 5 in many countries since its launch. However, after taking a closer look, there are some serious issues that should make clinicians think twice before using the Drugs & Medications app.
The Drugs and Medications app allows users to search for a drug by either brand name or generic and populates a list as the user types the name. Drug names for the United States and other countries are included.
Drug information includes the brand and generic names, manufacturer, dosage form, and NDC number. Some drugs also include the pronunciation, though this is mostly with the older medications. Separate sections also have information on indications, uses, and contraindications for the drug. No information on adverse effects, drug interactions, or standard dosing is found in the app.
Other parts of the app include a Favorites section for any drugs the user wishes to save.
The Pill Identifier allows the user to lookup medications by shape and color. Identifying marks may also be entered but are not necessary to add.
Once a user selects a drug for further information, there is an additional section marked by the Apple ‘Share’ icon that includes some interesting features. Users can email information from this section of the app or access the FDA Drug Label and any available FDA recall information. There is also a link to the Wikipedia entry for the drug for which the user is searching.
A Price Check feature is located in this part of the app that takes the user to PharmacyChecker.com. This seemed like a great idea but proved difficult to use. Common drugs like metformin and amoxicillin did not have any pricing info despite clicking through all of the options. When prices were found for Aciphex (rabeprazole), most of the pharmacy links were online pharmacies which may or may not have been registered in the United States.
Overall, the Drugs and Medications app is fairly no frills but does have some interesting features including a pill identifier, and links to the prescribing information, and FDA recalls. However, it’s not clear what sources the app uses for the drug information which leads to some concerns with the reliability of the data presented. The biggest issue with the app is it doesn’t appear the drug database has been updated since version 2.0 in September, 2013. Drugs like dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) that have been approved more recently in the U.S. aren’t included in the app.
Drugs and Medications app has some interesting features, but doesn’t include enough robust information to be used over more established free drug information apps. That, combined with the lack of transparency of source material and infrequent updating, makes it an app that is not likely to be useful for the practicing clinician.
- Pill identifier
- Pronunciation guide for drug names
- Links to FDA label and recall info
- Unable to identify source for drug info
- Lack of recent updates for drug info
- Price checker utilizes online pharmacies with links to purchase the drugs
- Some good features, but much useful clinical data is not included
- Links to online pharmacies make the app feel unreliable
- No recent updates of drug information leads to a concern for accuracy of information in the app
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Easy to use on the iPhone or iPad. Links to other websites with info that’s suspicious or difficult to navigate.
- Multimedia Usage
No specific multimedia features.
Inexpensive but there are better drug info apps that are free.
- Real World Applicability
Drug information isn’t updated and unclear as to its source.