Focus On: The Medical Letter

Medical LetterThe Medical Letter, a nonprofit organization founded in 1959, offers objective analysis of new drugs through two newsletters, The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics and Treatment Guidelines. The newsletters provide unbiased critical evaluation of new drugs, appraisal of new drugs for effectiveness, toxicity and cost, and discussion of possible alternatives, as well as reviews of new non-drug treatments and new diagnostic aids.

Newsletters are supported entirely by subscription fees and contain no advertising. Both newsletters are available online through HSLS. Content can be searched by issue, by a search box, and by table of contents.

The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics evaluates new drugs and reviews older drugs when important new information becomes available on their usefulness or adverse effects. It is published every other week, with online access available from 1988 to present.

Treatment Guidelines offers review articles of drug classes for treatment of common disorders, providing recommendations for first choice and alternative drugs, and comparative assessments of the drugs’ effectiveness, safety and cost. Published monthly, the online version includes volumes from 2001 to present.

In addition to the newsletters, the HSLS subscription includes:

The Adverse Drug Interactions Program: searches for interactions between two and up to 50 drugs. This program will list each of the drugs and generate an interactions report.

The Handbook of Antimicrobial Therapy contains information on the treatment of infectious diseases. It specifies the drugs of choice for every type of infection, with their dosages and adverse effects.

University of Pittsburgh and UPMC faculty and staff can download the handheld editions of The Medical Letter, and register to participate in The Medical Letter’s continuing medical education program.

To access this resource, type “Medical Letter” into the search.HSLS box on the HSLS homepage. For questions contact a reference librarian.

This article is updated from an April 2006 HSLS Update article written by Charlie Wessel.

Posted in the 2008 Issue