VCU Libraries

Research Guides

PHAR 509: Drug Information/Introduction to Pharmacy

VCU Libraries' Research Guide supporting PHAR 509


Full-text of the American Hospital Formulary Service® handbook of evidence-based drug information. In-depth drug information addressing pharmacology and use of drugs. Some information about compatibility and stability of injectable formulations. 
NOTE: This STAT!Ref book allows only five (5) concurrent users per title.
Available in print: Tompkins-McCaw Library RS125 .A56

Google Scholar

Facts & Comparisons lists both prescription and OTC drugs by therapeutic categories with concise information concerning pharmacology, dispensing information, and ingredients. Available online on the VCU School of Pharmacy website; see the Resources menu.
             Lexicomp Online lists both prescription and OTC drugs by therapeutic categories with concise information concerning pharmacology, dispensing information, ingredients.
Available in hard copy at Tompkins-McCaw Library RM300 .F332
Available online on the VCU School of Pharmacy website; see the Resources menu.Available in hard copy at Tompkins-McCaw Library RM300 .F332
Available online on the VCU School of Pharmacy website; see the Resources menu
WebMD provides valuable health information, tools for managing your health, and support to those who seek information.

Evidence-Based Literature Resources

ClinicalKey's Gold Standard Drug Database is an integrated drug database and clinical support engine designed to fulfill the evolving needs of complex healthcare systems and applications.

The Cochrane Library is a database of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare. Includes Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness, Controlled Trials Register, and Review Methodology.
Searchable database of articles from The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics from 1988 - present.
Formerly Natural Standard, Natural Medicines contains evidence-based, peer-reviewed information on complementary and alternative medicine treatments. Includes evaluation of therapies for specific conditions, herbs and supplements, and diet therapies.
UpToDate is a clinical information tool providing reviewed clinical reference material. Includes pharmaceutical information, patient handouts, graphics. Available on- and off-campus. Provided by the VCU Health System.

Primary Sources

What is a primary source in the sciences?

A primary source is information or literature about original research provided or written by the original researcher. Examples of primary sources include...

  • Experimental data
  • Laboratory notes
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Technical Reports
  • Patents
  • Some peer-reviewed scientific journal articles of original research

How can I identify a primary article?

In the primary article, the authors will write about research that they did and the conclusions they made. Some key areas in the article to look for are similar to those found in a lab report including... 

  • A research problem statement, or description of what the researchers are trying to discover or determine with their research,
  • Background information about previously published research on the topic,
  • Methods where the author tells the reader what they did, how they did it, and why,
  • Results where the author explains the outcomes of their research 

Sometimes scholarly journals will include review articles, which summarize published research on a topic but do not contain new results from original research. Even though these sources are scholary, they are NOT primary articles.

How do I know if my source is scholarly?

Along with being a primary source, it is frequently important that you know if your source is scholarly and appropriate for academic research. Some traits of scholarly articles are...

  • Citations to work done by others
  • Language is often serious and technical
  • Images are usually charts, graphs, or otherwise informative, rather than glossy photographs or advertisments
  • Authors' names are given, along with their affilitions with university, research institutions, etc.
  • Date of publication is given, frequently along with the date on which the articles was submitted for peer review
  • "About" or "instructions for authors" link on the journal's Web site indicates that the journal is peer reviewed or describes its peer review process