Drug reference books list drugs alphabetically, using a brand name followed by the generic drug name, according to Physicians' Desk Reference. Information about each drug is contained in an accompanying drug summary, which usually includes the manufacturer, therapeutic and Drug Enforcement Agency class, precautions, dosages and indications.
An example of a drug listing in the online Physicians' Desk Reference is Valium, known by the generic name diazepam. The entry for this drug notes that Genentech Incorporated is the manufacturer, the therapeutic class is benzodiazepine, and the DEA class is IV. Indications for Valium include management of anxiety, acute alcohol withdrawal, uncontrolled muscle spasms and convulsive disorders, notes Physicians' Desk Reference. Recommended doses are supplied for adults, children and seniors. Precautions and warnings preclude the use of Valium for psychotic and depressed patients, pregnant women, those with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and patients with chronic respiratory difficulties.
Optional information attached to drug listings in the Physicians' Desk Reference includes administration, contraindications, adverse reactions, drug monitoring and drug interactions. When new information about a drug becomes available, the online version attaches a drug alert to the drug summary, explains Physicians' Desk Reference. Some drugs in the Physicians' Desk Reference also have a section called full prescribing information.
The Physicians' Desk Reference book is the most commonly used reference tool in the United States, according to its website. As of 2015, the Physicians' Desk Reference is still published annually on paper, but several electronic databases are also available for use by doctors, notes Emory University School of Medicine. Drugs in these online references may be listed by brand or generic name or by class, and some include information on side effects and drug interactions.