The Barbados National Drug Formulary attempts both to provide general guidelines on prescribing, and set out indications, cautions/side effects and dose ranges. The prescriber is asked to pay particular note to the sections on prescription writing and variation in dose response. These sections are followed by notes on the special situations requiring dose modification including adverse effects and drug interactions. Emphasis is placed throughout these sections and the Product Listing with Recommended Dose Ranges on the need to tailor doses to the individual patient.

The Barbados National Drug Formulary (BNDF) is intended to be a pocketbook for quick reference. It is of greatest value to young doctors, but also to every prescriber who needs to use a drug for the first time, to check general guidelines, major cautions and side effects or dose ranges. It is also useful to identify an unfamiliar drug name or seek help with an unusual patient. In short, it assists in rational prescribing. It is also an educational tool for pharmacists, nurses and other members of the health care team. When more detailed information is required standard reference books should be consulted or help sought from the Drug Information Centre, Barbados Drug.

Rational prescribing must pay attention to costs. Drug selection has attempted to reconcile preparations of acceptable quality with cost. There will always be the temptation to question drug quality when desirable therapeutic results are not achieved, but it should be remembered that Pharmaceutical variation between brands is usually much less than patient sources of variation. Thus, having chosen the appropriate drug, the dose regime must be chosen with care and the prescription written with even more care to instructions and compliance by the patient. Finally, always ask whether a drug is needed at all.

The Drug Formulary Committee acknowledges the permission of the Editors of the British National Formulary to adopt some of their excellent tables. Just as the product listing will include changes from year to year, suggestions for improvement in prescribing guidelines and presentation of the next edition will be most welcomed.

Suggestions to be addressed to:

The Chairman

Drug Formulary Committee

C/o Barbados Drug Service

6th Floor

Warrens Tower II


St. Michael

Safe Prescribing.