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Clinical Notes
March 21, 1964

Identification of DrugsUse of the JAMA Drug Identification Guide

JAMA. 1964;187(12):951-953. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060250069020

INITIATED BY HEFFERREN, the monumental task of making available to physicians and others an "Identification Guide for Solid Dosage Forms" reached culmination with the publication of the Dec 22, 1962, issue of The Journal.1 Basing specificity on contrasts in physical characteristics, the Guide provides for the formation of a ten-digit code number for an unknown drug; the code number is then able to be matched with those of approximately 5,000 solid drug forms. When necessary, further differentiation can be accomplished by dimensional measurements (0.1 mm) in each of three planes, attention to imprints, etc. The question immediately posed itself, "In the field, will this method be as effective as intended?" We sought an answer in the following manner.

Method  Initially, 30 junior medical students and nine staff pediatricians ( group A ) were each confronted with three unknown medications—two tablets and one capsule. Each was also provided with a copy of

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