Introduction: There appears to be a significant prevalence of poisoning and adverse drug reactions in Singapore. However, the resources needed by physicians to assist them in the management of such cases are limited. This study examines the information resources currently utilised by medical professionals in assisting them in the management of poisonings and adverse drug reactions. The preferred features of an ideal Drug and Poison Information Centre in the local setting were also explored.
Method: A questionnaire survey involving all practicing physicians in Singapore to find out the current information resources utilised for Drug and Poison Information and the need for enhanced resources and its preferred form was looked at.
Results: A total of 1,071 practicing physicians responded forming 24% of all physicians in Singapore as of December 1997. Of these, 636 (61.3%) were general practitioners and the rest specialists. The main sources of poison information were Drug Index of Malaysia and Singapore or DIMS (73.7%), standard textbooks (70.1%), fellow colleagues (44.6%) and pharmacists (41.0%). In the opinion of most (82.4%), one well run and efficient Drug and Poison Information Centre was adequate for the whole island. The majority (58.9%) preferred that experienced individuals who could be consulted upon in times of need man such a service.
Conclusion: The study shows the need for enhanced drug and poison information resources. The local physician community also expects guidance and expert advice from a specialist. With this in mind, it is worthwhile examining in depth the issues surrounding poison and adverse drug reaction management and the need for readily accessible Drug and Poison Information resources in Singapore.