The Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) is a commercially published compilation of manufacturers' prescribing information (package insert) on prescription drugs, updated annually. While designed to provide physicians with the full legally mandated information relevant to writing prescriptions (just as its name suggests), it is widely available in libraries and bookstores, widely used by other medical specialists, and sometimes valuable to the layman. The compilation is financially supported in part by pharmaceutical manufacturing corporations which create drugs listed within its pages.

Since the late 20th century, a consumer edition has been offered at a much reduced price. Electronic editions are available on CD-ROM and the World Wide Web to subscribers. In 1984, Paul C. Kranz and Michael Grondin travelled to Oradell, New Jersey, and presented to Medical Economics (then-publisher of the PDR) a prototype developed by Grondin on a TI 99/4A computer of how a digital copy of the PDR would work and benefit clinicians. The idea originally conceived by Kranz was well received by the president and vice-president of IT and an agreement was struck to investigate. The result was the PDR on CD-ROM. The main edition is usable by determined laypeople in conjunction with a medical dictionary.

Today, the PDR is available in many forms, including the annual publication, online (PDR.net), and integrated directly into electronic health record (EHR) systems.

About the PDR

The 2011 version is the 65th edition, and has information on over 1,116 of the most commonly prescribed drugs.[1]

The PDR material contained includes:

  • Comprehensive indexing (four sections)
    • by Manufacturer
    • Products (by company's or trademarked drug name)
    • Category index (for example, "antibiotics")
    • Generic/chemical index (non-trademark common drug names)
  • Color images of medications
  • Product information, consistent with FDA labeling
    • Chemical information
    • Function/action
    • Indications & Contraindications
    • Trial research, side effects, warnings

Related references

There are several versions and related volumes:

  • PDR
  • PDR for Nonprescription Drugs, Dietary Supplements, and Herbs
  • PDR Drug Interactions and Side Effects Index
  • PDRhealth—Version in lay terms.
  • PDR Family Guide to Over-the-Counter Drugs—Lay term guide to non-prescription medication.
  • PDR for Ophthalmic Medicines
  • PDR Drug Guide for Mental Health Professionals


  1. ^ "PDR Bookstore.com: 2011 Physician's Desk Reference". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 

External links

Online version

  • PDR online—online version, free for US medical professionals only
  • PDR Health—free consumer drug and medical information site