A new system for identifying tablets and capsules may speed treatment of a poisoning victim, or help a coroner in his study of a death. The drug identification guide will appear in the Dec. 22 issue of The Journal.
The result of four years work, the guide is based on physical characteristics of solid-dosage forms of drugs, such as their size, shape, color and scoring. Through its use, physicians, emergency room attendants, poison control centers, law officers and others may be able to identify more than 5,000 drugs, or at least quickly narrow down the identity of an unknown drug to a few products.
Work on the system began in 1958 under the direction of John J. Hefferren, Ph.D., then on the staff of the AMA Chemical Laboratory, and now director of the division of chemistry of the American Dental Association Council on Dental Therapeutics.
Since 1960, the work has