Evaluation of website medicines information content, in comparison with official patient information
Article first published online: 18 FEB 2010
2006 Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
International Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Volume 14, Issue 3, pages 189–195, September 2006
How to Cite
Sidhu, H., Raynor, D. and Knapp, P. (2006), Evaluation of website medicines information content, in comparison with official patient information. International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 14: 189–195. doi: 10.1211/ijpp.14.3.0005
- Issue published online: 18 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 18 FEB 2010
- Received December 12, 2005; Accepted April 12, 2006
Objective To evaluate the content and presentation of websites accessed by the public for information about two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprofen and naproxen. To assess the accuracy and completeness of website content compared with official patient leaflets, and assess the quality of presentation of each site.
Setting Medicines are the most frequent intervention in healthcare, and people need appropriate information to use them safely and effectively. There is evidence that the leaflets supplied with medicines do not meet peoples' needs. There are many websites containing medicines information, but it is not known how the content compares with the official information.
Method The search words ‘Brufen’ and then ‘Naprosyn’ were used in the Google search engine. We identified the first 10 sites containing information comparable to that in conventional medicines leaflets (more than 100 words and at least three of five categories of information). Each site was scored for presence and accuracy of each point of information included in official leaflets. Each site was also scored for quality of presentation, assessing 10 attributes (scored 1–3).
Key findings We found 7 Brufen and 10 Naprosyn sites meeting the inclusion criteria and the mean score for completeness of information was 50% (range 23–79%). Eight inaccuracies were found in 7 out of the 17 sites. Four had significant potential clinical impact (all relating to dose) and four were minor in significance. The overall mean score for website presentation was 77%.
Conclusion Compared to official leaflets, information found on websites generally contained about half the total amount of pieces of information. There were a small number of inaccuracies related to dose, which are potentially dangerous. The websites scored well overall for quality of presentation. The two overall highest-scoring websites were a manufacturer's site and one aimed at health professionals.