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Press Release

New Format Improves Trusted Drug Information Resource

Pharmacists and other healthcare providers who turn to the 2002 edition of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists’ (ASHP’s) AHFS Drug Information (AHFS DI) will find big changes in the familiar "Big Red Book." The 44th edition of this premier drug information resource has undergone extensive renovations that make it faster for health professionals to locate the vital information they need to make safe and effective drug therapy decisions.

The text has been reorganized so that the most important information for drug therapy decisions – labeled and unlabeled uses, dosage, and administration – are now located at the beginning of nearly all monographs. The monographs also include vital information on drug interactions, toxicity, cautions, preparations, chemistry, stability, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics.

"We made these changes so that it’s easier for health care professionals to go directly to the information they need most often, even in busy practice environments," said Gerald McEvoy, editor of the compendium, which is published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). "This new edition also includes thousands of other revisions, including information on uses, cautions, drug interactions, new products, and ongoing manufacturer changes."

The 2002 edition of AHFS DI contains 69 new drug monographs, including medications approved through November 2001. Subsequent new drug approvals already have been posted on the new electronic updating service for AHFS DI subscribers at The monographs, which have been written and reviewed by drug information pharmacists and other professional editorial and analytical staff, incorporate the advice of more than 500 independent expert reviewers, including leading medical scientists, physicians, pharmacists, pharmacologists, and other clinicians.

AHFS DI’s drug information analysts draw from a variety of sources including the original clinical research and Food and Drug Administration-approved product labeling and therapeutic guidelines. Monographs on anti-infectives, vaccines, antidotes, and other agents that are likely to be needed in the event of a bioterrorist attack have been updated to include the latest recommendations of authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, and the National Institutes of Health.

The U.S. Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and various health care insurance providers have recognized the authority of AHFS DI as a source of information on the medically accepted uses of drugs. Both the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine have listed AHFS DI as a standard item for inclusion in reference libraries.

The information contained in AHFS is also available in various electronic formats, including a networkable CD-ROM (AHFSfirst™), an intranet/internet deployable knowledge base (AHFSfirstWeb™), and via a handheld personal digital assistant (ASHP eBookMan?).

A new subscription service, ASHPaccess™, allows users to download AHFS DI information from the Web onto all major handheld platforms, including the ASHP eBookman, Palm Pilot, Handspring, and Windows CE (Pocket PC). Drug information from the AHFS DI database can be customized to meet individual practice needs and the capacity of the subscriber’s PDA. Users can download up to 50 percent of the AHFS DI database (full and partial drug monographs).

Post-publication updates of the information contained in AHFS DI are provided to subscribers via the Internet at The site is continually updated to provide the most current developments, updates, recalls, and warnings related to drug therapies. The site will also include a link to ASHP’s online drug shortage resource center, quick access to the FDA’s MedWatch notices, and technical support for AHFS DI software products.

For more information on AHFS Drug Information or any other items in the AHFS product line, call ASHP Customer Service at (301) 657-4383 or visit the Society’s Web site at

ASHP is the 31,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.