How to use your BNF

The BNF is a joint publication of the RPS and the British Medical Association. It provides authoritative, independent guidance on best practice with clinically validated drug information to a range of healthcare professionals including pharmacists.

It contains key information relating to medicines and covers areas such as selection, prescribing, monitoring, dispensing and administration. This links to the process of using medicines rationally. How to use the BNF is a section at the start of the BNF with details on using the BNF more effectively. 

It should be particularly useful for pharmacists when undertaking clinical checks and providing advice.

Sections on this page

  • How to access the BNF
  • How is the information in the BNF structured?
  • What information can I find in the “Guidance on Prescribing” section?
  • What does the “Emergency Treatment of Poisoning” section cover?
  • How is information in the section “Notes on Drugs and Preparations” arranged
  • What are prescribing notes?
  • What information can I find in a drug monograph?
  • What information is contained in the appendices and indices?
  • What symbols are used in the BNF?
  • BNF and BNFc App
  • Where to go for further information

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BNF & BNFC app

The BNF & BNFC app brings together content from both the British National Formulary (BNF) and BNF for Children (BNF), providing access to practical, evidence-based medicines information on your smartphone or tablet.

The BNF provides up-to-date guidance on prescribing, dispensing and administering medicines, with special reference to their uses, cautions, contraindications, side-effects and dosage. The BNFC tailors the information for the drug management and treatment of children. The app will be updated with the latest clinical content once a month.

The app makes it even easier to find what you're looking for with intuitive predictive search, and easy-to-navigate sections. It also includes a robust interactions checker which makes identifying potentially serious issues between combinations of drugs quick and simple. 

You can access this information whenever and wherever you need it as the app doesn't require an internet connection to search or view content.

This new app replaces the NICE BNF app, and is designed for prescribers, pharmacists, and other health and social care professionals. It is free for non-commercial use in the UK.

Download RPharmS-iRx on the App StoreDownload RPharmS-iRx on Google Play