Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
Fluke Biomedical
Schiller
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING

Wikipedia Dominates Internet Drug Information

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jul 2014
Wikipedia, along with Google and WebMD, is where more than half of all Americans turn to for health information on prescription drugs.

Researchers at the Blackstone Group (London, United Kingdom), Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA), and other institutions selected new drug-safety communications related to prescription medicines that were issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Silver Spring, MD, USA) over a 2-year period between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012. They then evaluated Google searches and Wikipedia page views and content for each drug, looking specifically for references to safety warnings.

The researchers identified safety warnings for 22 prescription drugs indicated for a range of clinical conditions, including primary hypertension, chronic myelogenous leukemia, and hepatitis C. Collectively, these drugs triggered 13 million searches on Google and 5 million Wikipedia page views annually during the study period. FDA safety warnings were associated with an 82% increase, on average, in Google searches for the drugs during the week after the announcement and a 175% increase in views of Wikipedia pages for the drugs on the day of the announcement, as compared with baseline trends.

More than a third of the Wikipedia pages in the study were updated within two weeks of an FDA announcement. More prevalent diseases were more likely to be updated in this time frame than the less prevalent conditions. About 23% of the Wikipedia pages were updated more than two weeks after an FDA announcement, taking, on average, 42 days to post the new information. More than a third of the website's pages remained unchanged more than one year later. The study was published on June 26, 2014, in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

“Despite debates over its credibility, Wikipedia is reportedly the most frequently consulted online health care resource globally,” concluded senior author John D. Seeger, PharmD., PhD, of Harvard. “Wikipedia pages typically appear among the top few Google search results and are among the references most likely to be checked by internet users. The FDA should have a greater online presence in social media, as well as extend partnerships to popular online resources.”

The FDA has already experimented with working with WebMD and sending official FDA alerts to registered users. The authors' findings suggest that having the FDA update and/or automatically communicate drug safety information to Wikipedia pages could potentially be beneficial. The authors also suggested giving academic credit to medical and university students for editing and updating articles online.

“As a public health and regulatory agency, it is a priority for the FDA to provide consumers with clear and accurate information about the safety of the drugs they take,” commented FDA spokesperson Tara Goodin. “While there are a number of useful websites that contain information about FDA-approved products, ultimately, FDA.gov remains the best resource to find accurate and timely information about the safety and effectiveness of approved drug products.”

Related Links:

Blackstone Group
Harvard Medical School
US Food and Drug Administration



Centurion Service
MinXray
Bovie Medical

Channels

Critical Care

view channel

Busy Emergency Departments Offer Better Chance of Survival

A new analysis of hospitals in the United States finds that the busiest emergency departments (EDs) present the best chance of surviving, especially to patients whose condition is life-threatening. Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M; Ann Arbor, USA) analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS)... Read more

Surgical Techniques

view channel
Image: Emprint ablation system antenna inserted into a tumor directly through the skin (Photo courtesy of Covidien).

Soft Tissue Ablation Made More Predictable

An advanced ablation system offers physicians predictable results regardless of target location or tissue type. The Emprint Ablation System with Thermosphere Technology is designed to precisely heat... Read more

Women's Health

view channel
Image: A prototype contraceptive implant (Photo courtesy of MicroCHIPS).

Contraceptive Implant Hails New Era of Birth Control

A fingernail-sized implant holds enough 30-microgram daily doses of levonorgestrel to provide contraception for 16 years. Developed by MicroCHIPS (Lexington, MA, USA), a MIT (Cambridge, MA, USA) startup,... Read more

Business

view channel

Global Endoscopy Devices Market Adopts New Trends

Consistent technological advances have added new products to the global endoscopy devices market and expanded its boundaries. These are the latest findings of Transparency Market Research (Albany, NY, USA), a global market intelligence company. Endoscopy procedures can be diagnostic as well as operative, and since they... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.