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Topic: Capitalization of drug names  (Read 10432 times) Print
Jody Whartman
Group: AHDI Members
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I have been told that only brand name drugs are to be capitalized and generic drug names should begin with a small letter.  However, if this is true, as a fairly new transcriptionist, how do I know when it is a brand name or a generic name.   
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Tina Whitecotton, RMT, AHDI-F
Group: Administrator
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Posts: 122

Ah, drug names, the bane of my existence as an MT.  I have no less than 5 drug references! Then there's all the new drugs coming out every single month, and you have to learn them, as well!  How is one to keep up with it all?

Correct capitalization is something you will learn over time.  And there's always those lovely drugs that have unusual caps, such as pHisoHex.  Some drugs that you use frequently you will learn the correct capitalization fairly quickly such as Tylenol and amoxicillin.  Others won't be used as frequently and you will have to look them up.  You must make sure you have a good drug reference, at least one, preferably more, and then use them when you aren't sure of the correct capitalization.  A good drug reference will show the correct capitalization.  And, a good spell checker will do that for you as well.  But never trust the spell checker completely, always make sure you double check it until you know what's correct and what's not.  You could also put correct capitalization into your word expander.  So there are many ways to overcome drug name capitalization errors.  Of course, you must always be careful of switching to a lower case in the case of a generic with a text expander, because if the generic starts a sentence, it would be capitalized anyway.

Hope this helps!
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Tina Whitecotton, RMT, AHDI-F
Administrator, AHDI Professional Practices Network
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Jody Whartman
Group: AHDI Members
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Can you recommend a couple of the good drug reference books? 
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Tina Whitecotton, RMT, AHDI-F
Group: Administrator
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Posts: 122

Stedman's Quick Look Electronic Drug Reference is available in both electronic and book form.  I prefer the electronic form.

Drake and Drake's Drug reference is one I also have.  I find that sometimes when Stedman's doesn't have a drug, it will show up in Drake and Drake's book.

I also subscribe to the Monthly Prescribing reference, which lists all the new drugs approved in the last month.  You can find out more info about them here:

http://www.prescribingreference.com/

They also have a very nice little electronic drug reference program (called Medicos) you can get.  It's basically the MPR in electronic form.  It's pretty cool because it also allows you to install it on a PDA that runs Windows Mobile version (but doesn't work with the Palm operating system).  It will run on a regular computer, as well, as long as it's running Windows.

www.rxlist.com and www.drugs.com are good online references, as well as the MPR website itself.

Another that is perfectly acceptable, but that I don't use because I had to draw the line somewhere <G> is the American Drug Index (I had their electronic reference a few years ago but didn't like their interface.  They may have changed it, though, since then).  I'm sure there are others that other people like.  Maybe some other people will jump in and mention a couple more.  The others are escaping me right at the moment.

Stedman's Premium electronic spellchecker has drug references in it with correct capitalization, so it's also a good reference to have installed.  It works in many different word processors (including Word and WordPerfect).
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Tina Whitecotton, RMT, AHDI-F
Administrator, AHDI Professional Practices Network
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