App Review: BNF & BNFc

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BNF logo

Name: BNF BNFc

Content producer: BNF Publications

Operating system: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (iOS 8.0 or later 160mb) and Android (4.0.3 or later 116mb)

Available from: iTunes and Google Play

Tested on: Samsung S7

Price: Free

Type of Information: The BNF and BNFc are the primary sources for information on prescribing and medicines licenced in the UK.

For: The publishers say…The BNF & BNFC App is aimed at prescribers, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals who need sound, up-to-date information about the use of medicines.”

Main pros:

  • Contains all of the content from BNF and BNFC in one app
  • Easier to navigate with a more intuitive design and enhanced features around search and interactions checking
  • New evidence grading feature

Main cons:

  • Takes up much more space than the previous two apps combined
  • Loss of some features such as bookmarking

A new BNF and BNFc app launched over the summer is set to replace the old NICE BNF and BNFc apps. With the new app combining BNF and BNFc content into a single app it aims to be faster, easier to use and access than the previous apps which will both be withdrawn later this year, users of the old apps will see a banner notifying them of this nearer the time. NICE are encouraging users of their apps to migrate across to the new app and have announced that as of July 2017 the old apps will no longer be updated[1].

The new BNF and BNFc app comes from BNF Publications, the publishing arm of The Royal Pharmaceutical Society. The app is free to download and, unlike the old apps, is purpose built for iOS and Android. The app features offline browsing and searching so users can use the app in settings where there is no internet or Wi-Fi connections. A connection is only required during the initial download and for updating the content monthly.

Information is organised into six sections: Drugs, Treatment summaries, Medical devices, Interactions checker, Borderline substances and Wound care. Users navigate the sections by accessing the menu icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. To alternate between the two formularies users must access the menu and select the drop down arrow at the top to select the formulary they wish to view. The app will remember the formulary selected, even when the app has been closed, until the user changes it.

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The app opens onto the Drugs browse page, the current formulary selected and the section being viewed is always shown at the top of the screen and the app will briefly display the month and year of the content being viewed at the bottom of the screen.

Drugs information can be found by browsing or searching. Users can browse by drug / medicine name by tapping the relevant letter on the a-z list or can search by name using the magnifying glass at the top to reveal the search bar. The search feature has an autocomplete function with suggestions shown as soon as the user starts typing.

Each record contains the same content found in the print and online versions of the BNF and BNFc, with information arranged under the same headings as the print and online versions. Full range monograph information on dose, interactions, side-effects, and cautions are included, as well as information specific to patient groups or profession-specific prescribing.

Treatment summaries are also included in the app and are arranged by the body system they relate to. However, users can also search for treatment summaries by clicking on the magnifying glass at the top of the screen to access the search bar.

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The interactions checker tool allows users to check interactions for one drug or for two or more drugs. Although, each drug record contains full interactions information the interactions checker tool allows users to discover interactions between different combinations of multiple drugs. This tool can be accessed from the main menu or from within a drug monograph via the three dots.

Some of the features which have not been brought across on this app include the bookmarking option. And while the new app has a fresher, simplier colour-scheme, the different formulary branding colours in the previous apps did make it easier for users to differentiate between the two. The app also takes up more space than the previous two apps combined and the clinical content updates are a bit harder to navigate to, as there are now a couple of menu steps to perform to locate them instead of the What’s New tab on the old app.

However, one new feature not available on the older apps is evidence grading. Evidence grading has been in use in BNF Publications since 2016 to reflect the strength of the recommendation to support clinical decision-making based on the best available evidence. At the moment only a small number of clinical recommendations have evidence grading applied, but the publishers promise that more evidence grading will appear with each monthly update. The evidence grading feature can be switched on or off in the settings part of the main menu.

On the whole the app performs better and is easier to navigate and unlike the NICE apps an OpenAthens account is no longer required for the app to work, although the publishers do make it clear that the app is for NHS users only – for those interested in eligibility please see the T&C Section 14, Definitions: NHS Users. More information can be found at BNF & BNFc App FAQs.

All posts on this blog are subject to the St George’s Library Disclaimer, please take the time to read it carefully.

[1] https://www.nice.org.uk/news/article/new-improved-bnf-and-bnfc-app-launched

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Library ♥ Pharmacy

library loves pharmacy bannerThis month our popular Library Loves series returns highlighting Pharmacy and Pharmacology resources available through St George’s Library.

Websites
Journals
Databases
Reference, Summaries & Point of Care resources
Regulatory Agencies
Societies & Professional Associations

Websites

The following websites form a comprehensive selection of online resources providing guidance, information and support on the use of medicines; along with news and analysis on topics relevant to pharmacy and pharmacology.

NICE Medicines and Prescribing
https://www.nice.org.uk/about/nice-communities/medicines-and-prescribing
A comprehensive suite of guidance, advice and support for the delivery of quality, safety and efficiency in the use of medicines.

Chemist + Druggist
http://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/
Featuring the latest UK community pharmacy news Chemist + Druggist is a weekly magazine containing news on clinical and business issues, alongside articles and training courses to assist pharmacists with their CPD.

electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC)
https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/
the eMC contains up-to-date, easily accessible information about medicines licenced for use in the UK. With over 10,600 documents, all of which have been checked and approved by either the UK or European government agencies which licence medicines.

RxList
http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/hp.asp
RxList is an online medical resource dedicated to offering detailed and current pharmaceutical information on brand and generic drugs.

Specialist Pharmacy Service
https://www.sps.nhs.uk/
Specialist Pharmacy Services (SPS) aim to be “The first stop for professional medicines advice” SPS brings together expertise from Medicines Use and Safety, Procurement, Quality Assurance, Technical Services and UKMi. Delivered by senior pharmacy professionals and with a focus on hospital care, Specialist Pharmacy Services (SPS), underpin the safe, effective and efficient use of medicines across the country.

Cochrane Library
http://www.cochranelibrary.com/
The Cochrane Library is freely available and consists of several databases supporting evidence-based medicine.

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Journals

These journals comprise a list of ‘key titles’ for pharmacists and pharmacologists which the Library recommends for those wanting to keep up to date in this field.

All titles are available through the library. Staff and students of St Georges, University of London can access the Journals via the St George’s Library Journals A-Z list: accessing titles offsite will require you to enter in your SGUL username and password.

NHS staff can access these titles via the NICE Journals A-Z search using their OpenAthens account details.

Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin
The DTB provides rigorous and independent evaluations of, and practical advice on, individual treatments and the overall management of disease for doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Published monthly by the BMJ the journal aims to provide informed and unbiased information on medical conditions, medicines and other treatments to enable readers to make informed choices and ensure patients get the best care.

British Journal of Pharmacology
The BJP gives leading international coverage of all aspects of experimental pharmacology.

Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics is an international journal concerned with the effects of drugs on the human gastrointestinal and hepato-biliary systems, particularly with relevance to clinical practice.

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Published on behalf of the British Pharmacological Society, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology contains papers and reports, research and review articles on all aspects of drug action in humans.

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (AAC) features interdisciplinary studies that build an understanding of the underlying mechanisms and therapeutic applications of antimicrobial and antiparasitic agents and chemotherapy.

Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry is an international and multidisciplinary journal which aims to ensure the rapid publication of authoritative reviews and research papers dealing with experimental and clinical aspects of neuro-psychopharmacology and biological psychiatry.

European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
The European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology publishes original papers, short communications, and letters to the editors on all aspects of clinical pharmacology and drug therapy in humans. Coverage includes therapeutic trials; pharmacokinetics; drug metabolism; adverse drug reactions; drug interactions; all aspects of drug development; prescribing policies; pharmacoepidemiology; and matters relating to the safe use of drugs.

Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (CPT) is a cross-disciplinary journal in experimental and clinical medicine devoted to publishing advances in the nature, action, efficacy, and evaluation of therapeutics.

Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Pharmacology & Therapeutics presents clear, critical and authoritative reviews of currently important topics in pharmacology.

Trends in Pharmacological Sciences
Trends in Pharmacological Sciences is a monthly review journal focusing on pharmacology and toxicology.

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy is a journal of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) and is among the foremost international journals in antimicrobial research.

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Databases

These databases contain relevant articles and papers for those interested in pharmacological research. The Library provides access to the EMBASE and MEDLINE databases for SGUL staff and students and NHS staff.

SGUL staff and students should follow the relevant links from the database entry on the A-Z database list, offsite access will require an SGUL username and password.

NHS staff will need an NHS OpenAthens account to access these databases using the updated Healthcare Databases Advanced Search (HDAS) platform.

ChemIDplus is freely available and does not require a login.

EMBASE
The EMBASE database covers biomedicine and pharmacology; particularly strong in the areas of drugs, toxicology and psychiatry; indexing over 3,500 international journals.

MEDLINE
Medline is a general medical database produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The database contains millions of citations, derived from thousands of biomedical and life science journals.

ChemIDplus
ChemIDplus contains over 400,000 chemical records. More than 300,000 of those records include chemical structures. ChemIDplus allows you to search by name/synonym, physical properties or toxicity in order to identify chemical substances.

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References, Summaries and Point of Care resources

British National Formulary (BNF)
The BNF provide prescribers, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals with sound up-to-date information about the use of medicines. Covering medicines generally prescribed in the UK, the BNF includes key information on the selection, prescribing, dispensing, and administration of medicines. Updated twice a year the BNF is available in print or online on MedicinesComplete or NHS Evidence.

British National Formulary for Children (BNFc)
Like the BNF the BNF for Children aims to provide prescribers, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals with sound up-to-date information on the use of medicines for treating children.

Both the BNF and the BNFc are available as iOS and Android Apps; you will need an NHS OpenAthens account to access the content. More information can be found at the NICE apps for smartphones and tablets page.

Medicines Information Services
Information on any aspect of drug therapy can be obtained from Regional and District Medicines Information Services.
St George’s pharmacy department
Lanesborough Wing, 020 8725 1765

DynaMed Plus
An evidence-based knowledge system that helps healthcare staff make the right decisions at the point of care. It covers over 3,400 clinical topics, providing evidence-graded treatment recommendations as well as diagnostic and other information. Access via NHS Open Athens, the trust intranet, or download the mobile app, for information on the go.

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Regulatory Agencies

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. MHRA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health. Recognised globally as an authority in its field, the agency plays a leading role in protecting and improving public health.

European Medicines Agency
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU. The EMA supports scientific excellence in the evaluation and supervision of medicines ensuring that all medicines available on the EU market are safe, effective and of high quality.

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Societies & Professional Associations

Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)
(ABPI) represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies; companies who supply more than 80 per cent of all branded medicines used by the NHS and who are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The RPS is the professional membership body for pharmacists and pharmacy in Great Britain and an internationally renowned publisher of medicines information.

The British Pharmaceutical Society
The British Pharmacological Society is a charity with a mission to promote and advance the whole spectrum of pharmacology. The Society leads the way in the research and application of pharmacology around the world.

International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP)
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) is the global body representing pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences. Through 139 national organisations, academic institutional members and individual members, FIP represent over three million pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists around the world.

General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
The GPhC is the body responsible for the independent regulation of the pharmacy profession within England, Scotland and Wales. Responsible for the regulation of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises.

British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA)
The British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association is the official student organisation of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society; founded in 1942 it is the only national body that solely represents pharmacy students and pre-registration trainee pharmacists.

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Further Information

For help in viewing or downloading online journals, or accessing databases pop along to the Research Enquiries Desk in the Quiet Study Area of the Library, Mon-Fri 11am-4pm.

If you are an NHS user and are having problems with your OpenAthens account, please contact your OpenAthens administrator Zena Ali at zali@sgul.ac.uk or 020 8725 5433.

Information on accessing and using some of these resources can be found on the Library website help page.

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