Sources of BNF Information

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What is the main source of product information for the BNF?

Summaries of product characteristics

Why does the BNF verify the approved names of all relevant ingredients?

To comply with Human Medicine Regulations

What is done when the indications, cautions, and side-effects of a drug deviate from the expected pattern?

Justification is sought for their inclusion or exclusion

What additional verification step is taken specifically for changes in doses?

Double-check by another clinical writer

Why does the BNF seek independent data on drug use in pregnancy and breastfeeding?

To incorporate accurate information in the BNF

What is done with potential clinical problems or omissions identified during processing?

Further information is sought from expert advisers or manufacturers

What type of information is provided in the latter half of the monograph to help prescribers and medicine dispensers?

All of the above

Where is safety information, dose advice, or clinical information about a specific medicinal form now found in the monograph?

In the main body under the specific medicinal form

What type of information is provided in the medicinal forms section of the monograph?

All of the above

Under what heading is practitioners reminded that not all products containing a specific drug ingredient may be similarly licensed?

Medicinal Forms

What type of information is provided to help assess when a patient may be able to purchase a drug without prescription?

Legal status of medicines

Which section of the monograph provides details on prescription-only medicines, controlled drugs, pharmacy medicines, and medicines on the general sales list?

Medicinal Forms (formerly Preparations)

Which section of the BNF 85 provides information about circumstances when a drug should be avoided?


What information is typically included in the section on Allergy and Cross-Sensitivity in the BNF 85?

Potential hypersensitivity reactions

Which section of the BNF 85 provides information about how one drug can change the effects of another drug?


In the context of prescribing for a woman of childbearing age, which section of the BNF 85 discusses the potential harmful effects on an unborn child?

Conception and Contraception

Which section of the BNF 85 provides information on precautions required when administering certain drugs?


Where can serious risks associated with the use of a drug be highlighted as per the text?

In information produced by drug regulators

Study Notes

Unlicensed Use of Medicines

  • Unlicensed use of medicines refers to the use of medicines outside the terms of their UK licence (off-label use) or use of medicines that have no licence for use in the UK
  • Important safety information is provided by drug regulators, highlighting serious risks associated with drug use


  • Contra-indications are circumstances when a drug should be avoided


  • Cautions refer to precautions required when using a drug


  • Interactions occur when one drug changes the effects of another drug


  • Side-effects are listed in order of frequency, where known, and arranged alphabetically

Allergy and Cross-Sensitivity

  • Allergy and Cross-Sensitivity refer to drugs that carry an increased risk of hypersensitivity reactions

Conception and Contraception

  • Conception and Contraception refer to the potential for a drug to have harmful effects on an unborn child when prescribing for a woman of childbearing age or for a man trying to father a child

Sources of BNF Information

  • The BNF uses a variety of sources for its information, including summaries of product characteristics (SPCs) of new and existing products
  • SPCs are the principal source of product information and are carefully processed
  • Verification of approved names of ingredients, comparison of indications, cautions, and side-effects, and independent data on use in pregnancy and breast-feeding are part of the processing

Information Contained in the BNF

  • The BNF contains information on medicinal forms, NHS funding status, and when a patient may be able to purchase a drug without prescription
  • The medicinal forms section provides information on the type of formulation, amount of active drug, and concentration of active drug

Learn about the sources of information utilized by the British National Formulary (BNF) including summaries of product characteristics (SPCs) for new and existing products. Discover how the BNF carefully processes and verifies ingredient names from SPCs.

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