Stuff We Love: Iodine


In today’s world with wonders like Yelp and Foursquare, it’s hard to imagine checking out a new restaurant without doing a quick scan of reviews. Did they like the service? What about the wait time? And most importantly: Was the food as delicious as it looks in photos on the restaurant’s website?

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Now you can look through those same type of reviews for the medications you take—or the ones you’re considering taking. It’s all thanks to Iodine, a new app available on iOS devices. At first, we were hesitant—we're used to following doctors' orders, not taking advice from random strangers who probably didn’t spend years of their life in medical school. But then we realized how many medications exist for every ailment—the common cold is a perfect example—and how helpful it would be to hear how any drug affects people like us.

So, ever wonder what the difference is between taking NyQuil or Tylenol Cold Multi-Sympton Nighttime before you head to bed? Simply open Iodine and you can compare the two drugs. The user-submitted reviews include an overall effectiveness rating plus scores for three important questions: Is it worth it? Does it work? And is it a hassle? The tips from individual users, though, are the best part of the app. You can see if a 35-year-old man found Tylenol to be only moderately effective or if a 26-year-old woman liked NyQuil, except for weird dreams it caused her to have.

The app includes ratings and reviews for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. And we love how intuitive the app is to use: You can search by condition or medication. Plus, Iodine has added cool new wizards for allergies and the cold and flu. Just check off the symptoms you’re experiencing, and the app can tell you the best medication to take. And even though the reviews can come from anyone, we were never worried about dealing with bad information. Iodine works with an impressive medical team of pharmacists, doctors, nurses, and medical students that moderates reviews to make sure you don’t come across any factually incorrect or harmful suggestions.

And best of all: Iodine is great at saving you money. When we looked at the medication we take for our moderate heartburn, the app suggested a much cheaper generic brand that would work just as well. And wouldn’t you know, Iodine was right.

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