How to use the British National Formulary
Oliver Jones explains how the BNF can become your best friend
Scenario: You have just qualified. It's 3 am and you are on your own in the ward. You have five emergency admissions to deal with. Some patients cannot remember what drugs they are on. The others have brought all their drugs with them. You have to sort out their medication. The British National Formulary (BNF) is a joint publication by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Association. The book is published under the authority of the Joint Formulary Committee, which in turn seeks advice from a panel of experts. It is also available on the web at http://BNF.org. As a biannual publication the BNF should be considered both impartial and up to date. This article summarises how to maximise the efficient use of this reference manual.
The heart of the BNF comprises 15 chapters, listed on the contents page, of conditions, drugs, and preparations divided by organ-for example,