Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the #1 medical reference app. Read our answers to frequently asked questions about epocrates.

You might be wondering

Where does epocrates content come from?

Content that is licensed from a source outside of our organization is listed below. All other proprietary content is developed, distilled, and compiled by the epocrates Medical Information team.

  • Drug retail pricing data is sourced from GoodRx.
  • Full color pill pictures are licensed from FDB (First Databank).
  • Formulary content, including information about prior authorizations, step edits, and other restrictions, is provided by Managed Markets Insight & Technology (MMIT).
  • Alternative meds content is developed by epocrates based on content licensed from Natural Medicines, Therapeutic Research Center, Inc.
  • Diseases: We work with BMJ Group, publishers of the British Medical Journal, to produce a disease reference that is easy to use and integrated with other epocrates references.
  • Calculators/Tools: We work with EBMcalc to provide interactive, point of care medical equations, clinical criteria sets, and decision trees in a wide range of medical specialties.
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines: epocrates synthesizes complex clinical practice guidelines from top medical societies and government agencies to provide clinicians with actionable recommendations organized by patient type.

When does epocrates add new drug products?

New drug products are added to epocrates around the time the drug becomes commercially available to prescribe in the US.

Why are there separate drug monographs for brand names and generic names? How do these monographs differ?

epocrates provides monographs based on product-specific information, such as available formulations, dosing, indications, manufacturer, and pricing. For example, epocrates includes a unique monograph for each brand name albuterol inhaled product (i.e., ProAir HFA, ProAir RespiClick, Proventil HFA, Ventolin HFA), as well as a generic albuterol inhaled monograph. The generic monograph covers only the strengths and forms available on the US market as generic products. The brand name monographs are specific to each brand product. 

Where can I find the indications/uses for a drug in epocrates?

FDA-approved indications and off-label uses (denoted by an asterisk) for prescription (Rx) drugs can be found under the Adult Dosing and Peds Dosing sections in epocrates drug monographs. Each bold header is an indication or use for the product, followed by appropriate dosing. 

How do I use the weight-based dosing calculator?

Calculating individual dose amounts

Only the dose and patient weight need to be entered. If the dose expression is “10 mg/kg PO q8h,” enter “10” in the Dose Amt field. Select the units “mg/kg.” Enter the patient weight in the Weight field. Select the appropriate patient weight units (i.e. lb or kg). Finally, tap “View Results” on iPhone/iPad or “Calculate” on Android to see the individual dose amount.;

Calculating daily dose amounts divided between multiple daily doses

Dose, patient weight, and dosing frequency must all be entered. If the dose expression is “20 mg/kg/day PO divided q6-8h”, enter “20” in the Dose Amt field. Select the units “mg/kg/day.” NOTE:  To activate the Freq q field, select a dose unit that includes “/day.” Enter the patient weight in the Weight field. Select the appropriate weight units (i.e. lb or kg). Enter the desired dosing frequency and units (in this case, q6 hr or q8 hr) in the Freq q field. Finally, tap “View Results” on iPhone/iPad or “Calculate” on Android to see each dose amount.

Calculating doses for liquid forms

After entering the required information noted above, enter the concentration of the liquid formulation in the Strength fields. For instance, if the drug comes as a 250 mg/5 mL suspension, enter 250 mg on the first line and 5 mL on the second. On iPhone/iPad, this information may be entered directly into the Strength fields. On Android, tap on the box to the right of “Form” and select “liquid” to activate the Strength fields. Finally, tap “View Results” on iPhone/iPad or “Calculate” on Android to see each dose amount in terms of volume (mL).

What is included in the Contraindications/Cautions section of a drug monograph?

The Contraindications/Cautions section includes diseases, conditions, and other circumstances in which the drug should not generally be used or should be used with caution, regardless of source or section in which it might appear in the prescribing information.  

Where can I find drug allergy information in epocrates?

The contraindication “hypersens. to drug/class/compon.” is meant to globally convey that hypersensitivity to the drug, drug class, or the inactive ingredients is a contraindication for use. Epocrates drug monographs also include some specific clinically relevant allergens and cross-allergen risks in the Contraindications/Cautions section.  

How is the Adverse Reactions section of epocrates drug monographs organized?

epocrates includes all adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and lab abnormalities reported in at least 2% of patients at any recommended dose for any indication and occurring more frequently in the treatment group than the placebo group. This may vary for products in which such information isn’t available, reported differently (e.g., listed as >1% or >5% in the product labeling), or studied versus an active control.  Common Reactions also include any ADR referred to as “frequent,” “common,” or “most common” in the product labeling or primary literature.   

If an ADR doesn’t meet our inclusion criteria as a serious or common ADR, but that ADR is nonetheless serious, severe, frequent, and/or is strongly associated with the use of the drug, it will be included at the end of the Common Reactions.  

Common Reactions for prescription (Rx) drugs are usually listed in descending order of frequency. We may synthesize data from multiple sources and for multiple indications to arrive at an order that may differ from what appears in the drug's prescribing information for a single dose or indication. 

For combination over-the-counter (OTC) products, Common Reactions are listed alphabetically. 

Serious Reactions are included regardless of incidence. These effects are typically grouped by organ system or severity, but may sometimes be listed in other ways, such as alphabetically. The decision to include an effect as a Serious Reaction is based on its potential to cause death, result in significant morbidity or dependence/abuse, or require major medical intervention. 

Does epocrates include incidence rates for adverse drug reactions (ADRs)?

Because data on the incidence of ADRs can be variable, inconsistent, and potentially misleading, we’ve chosen to list only the common adverse reactions in epocrates, in general descending order of frequency. 

How do I add and change formulary plans?

iOS Devices (iPhone/iPad): 

To add new plans, use the “Add New Formulary” button, which can be found in three locations in the app: 

(1) Formulary Tile 

Go to the Formulary tile and tap the “Add New Formulary” button at the bottom of the screen.   

(2) Formulary Bar 

When performing a search or browsing drugs by subclass, you can find the “Add New Formulary” button by tapping the Formulary bar displayed at the bottom of the screen.   

(3) Drug Monograph 

When viewing the sections of a drug monograph, tap the Formulary section to view the Formulary details for this drug and the selected plan. Next, tap the “Add New Formulary” button at the bottom of the screen. 

Find the desired plan(s) using the search bar and/or filters for state and formulary type. Tap each plan name you need, then tap “Add Formulary” at the bottom of the screen. The new plan(s) will now be included in your Recent Formularies list.  

To change the selected formulary, access the Recent Formularies list through the Formulary tile or the Formulary bar, then tap on the desired plan. In the Formulary section of a drug monograph, your recently viewed formulary plans appear below the coverage details under the heading “Other Formularies.” Tap on the desired plan. The name of the newly selected plan will appear at the top of the Formulary section. 

Android Devices: 

To add new plans, use the “+” button, which can be found in three locations in the app. 

(1) Formulary Tile 

Go to the Formulary tile and tap the “+” button at the bottom of the screen.   

(2) Formulary Bar 

When performing a search, the name of the selected formulary plan will be displayed in the Formulary bar at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Formulary bar, then the “+” button.  

When browsing drugs by subclass, the Formulary bar will appear at the top of the screen. Tap on the “Change” button to the right of the Formulary bar, then the “+” button. 

(3) Drug Monograph 

When viewing the sections of a drug monograph, the current formulary plan name is found directly below the drug name. Tap the current formulary name to go to the Formulary section of the monograph. Next, tap the “Change” button, then the “+” button. 

Find the desired plan(s) using the search bar and/or filters for state and formulary type. Tap each plan name you need, then tap the Add Formulary button at the bottom of the screen. The new plan(s) will now be included in your Recent Formularies list.  

To change the selected formulary, access the Recent Formularies list through the Formulary tile or the Formulary bar, then tap the name of the desired plan. Alternatively, you can change your formulary from the Formulary section of a drug monograph by tapping the “Change” button, then selecting a formulary from the Recent Formularies list. 

What does epocrates do when brand name drug products are removed from the market?

We typically make the following note in the Dosing sections of the epocrates drug monograph:   

Brand Discontinued in US [see generic]

or

Brand Discontinued in US [select or search generic name for alternatives]

When viewing a brand name monograph for which a generic and/or other brand products are available, simply click/tap on the generic name at the top of the monograph to quickly navigate to these alternatives. 

Does epocrates have intravenous (IV) administration information?

Not at this time. You can use the “Notes” section of a drug monograph to record IV administration information for frequently ordered and administered drugs.  

How can pharmaceutical manufacturers make clinical requests?

The epocrates Medical Information Team requests that all such inquiries

  • are sent directly to clinical@epocrates.com,
  • are addressed directly from a clinical representative within the pharmaceutical manufacturer’s medical information department or equivalent business unit, and
  • include the product name, name and contact information of clinical representative, current FDA-approved product labeling (prescribing information), supportive scientific literature, and the following additional information at a minimum:

New Monograph Requests

  • date of FDA approval
  • date of product launch to the market

Product Labeling Updates

  • description of all changes made from previous product labeling

Content Correction Requests

  • description of specific changes requested and clinical rationale for each

Do you have more questions for the epocrates team?