Medicines and drugs are an integral part of mainstream western allopathic medicines that are consumed around the world. A medical transcription professional who daily transcribes the dictations by the physicians or any specialist doctors will often come across prescription of drugs both old and new. A medical transcriptionist has to be aware of the latest drugs introduced in the concerned market and this can be done with the following pharmacology (drug) reference books which should always be a part of his library.
Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR)

American Drug Index (ADI)

Saunders Pharmaceutical Word Book

Understanding Pharmacology

Whenever a transcriptionist comes across a new drug name he must know how to search for it and become familiar with the drugs, their indications and dosages. Being up to date can save a lot of search time. Remember, good productivity in transcription is a critical factor as payment is usually made on a per line basis.

While a drug’s trade name or brand name is selected for its appeal to prescribing physicians, the generic drug can have several trade names, each copyrighted by different manufacturers. While transcribing drug names these are some of the main factors that should be kept in mind by the transcriptionist.
Generic names are in lower case

Trade names start in capitals and can have internal caps as well

PDR (Physicians’ Desk Reference) is for prescribed drugs

Separate publication for non prescribed drugs

Drugs can sound similar but be totally different in spelling and usage

Do not capitalize words like tablet / capsule / solution / cream etc

One of the biggest challenges medical transcriptionists often come across is when listening to tapes that may not be very clear in the dictation. It can be confusing when there are two drugs that are spelled differently but sound very much alike. These two drugs could be for completely different uses and the transcription professional has to be very alert to all such names.

The author of this article is Ricci Mathew of Outsource Strategies International (OSI), a US based company that offers services in Medical Coding, Medical Billing, Medical Transcription for clients across the US.