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November 23, 1994

Clinical Pharmacology: An Electronic Drug Reference and Teaching Guide, version 1.0 for Windows

Author Affiliations

Labette County Medical Center Parsons, Kan

JAMA. 1994;272(20):1628-1629. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520200086050

One of his poultice prescriptions... included swallow's nests, dirt, dung and all, boiled in oil of chamomel and lillies. To this was added the faeces of a dog, and hen's grease as well as sundry herbs....

In Elizabethan times we used preparations such as the one above.1 Fortunately, we are much more discriminating in our use of apothecary in the late 20th century. Otherwise, it would be a veritable challenge to fathom all the drug-drug interactions in the above nostrum. Yet, even today we are not beyond guilt in what we prescribe.2,3 As the good doctor Cornelius warns us in Shakespeare's Cymbeline, we should guard ourselves against dispensing "a drug of such damn'd nature... first... on cats and dogs,/Then afterward up higher..." perhaps on humans.

Software intended to assist rational prescribing is common today. Many programs are excellent and most are expensive. Practicing

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