British National Formulary
The British National Formulary (BNF) is published every six months by a Joint Formulary Committee. It is a collaboration between the British Medical Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Department of Health with representation from British Dental Association and nursing bodies as nurse prescribing develops.
It is published in paper form every six months, online  and as an app for iOS and Android devices. The aim is to produce authoritative, up to date information about the use of medicines within the UK. Information on drugs is taken from the manufacturers' product literature, medical and pharmaceutical literature, regulatory authorities and professional bodies. There are many improvements between editions which may be unnoticed other than by the most eagle eyed. For this reason, users are encouraged to use the most recent edition available. In many small corners there are editions several years old. There are considerable risks in continuing to use them but it can sometimes take courage to help them to “retire”. Many drug names have changed recently with the introduction of the Recommended International Non-proprietary Name (rINN) in place of the British Approved Name (BAN).
Recently it has become clear that children are not just small adults to be given fractions of the standard dose and the British National Formulary for Children (BNF-C) has been developed. With the increasing development of nurse prescribing the Nurse Prescribing Formulary and Extended Nurse Prescribing Formulary have appeared.
Table of Contents
- How to use the BNF
- General information and late changes
- General reference
- Controlled drugs and drug dependance
- Emergency Supply of Medicines
- Prescribing in palliative care.
- Emergency treatment of poisoning
There follows a list of medicines by body systems
- 1 Gastrointestinal system
- 2 Cardiovascular system
- 3 Respiratory system
- 4 Central nervous system
- 5 Infections
- 6 Endocrine system
- 7 Obstetrics, Gynaecology and urinary-tract disorders
- 8 Malignant disease and immunosuppression
- 9 Nutrition and blood
- 10 Musculoskeletal and joint disorders
- 11 Eye
- 12 Ear, nose and oropharynx
- 13 Skin
- 14 Immunological products and vaccines
- 15 Anaesthesia
There is an extensive list of appendices
- Appendix 1 Interactions
- Appendix 2 Liver disease
- Appendix 3 Renal impairment.
- Appendix 4 Pregnancy
- Appendix 5 Breast feeding
- Appendix 6 Intravenous additives
- Appendix 7 Borderline substances
- Appendix 8 Wound management products and elastic hosiery
- Dental Practitioners Formulary
- Nurse Prescribers Formulary
- Index of manufacturers
- Special-order manufacturers
- Yellow card
The systems are further divided by decimal subgroups eg
- 1.3 Ulcer healing drugs
- 1.3.1 H2 receptor antagonists
- 1.3.2 Selective muscarinics
- 1.3.5 Proton pump inhibitors
Some doctors, particularly in their junior years are embarrassed to be seen looking up the book during a consultation. Patients are more likely to be impressed by your thoroughness if you say something like 'Let me just check the dosage as I don’t prescribe this very often.' You are more likely to be relieved if your original dosage estimate was wrong.