Online Drug Information: Wikipedia vs. Medscape

A study in this month’s Annals of Pharmacotherapy compares freely available drug information in two Internet resources: user-edited Wikipedia and the “traditionally edited pharmacy-practice-specific” Medscape Drug Reference. While the information in Wikipedia was generally accurate, researchers report serious “errors of omission” in safety-related areas such as drug interactions, risks related to pregnancy, and adverse drug events.  The authors cite a recent report that “the same group of 18- to 44-year-old individuals who consult resources like Wikipedia has recently been identified as the most likely to borrow and share prescription drugs without medical oversight or disclosure.”

Clausen KA, Polen HH, Boulos MN, Dzenowagis JH. Scope, completeness, and accuracy of drug information in Wikipedia. Ann Pharmacother. 2008 Dec;42(12):1814-21. PMID 19017825Fulltext free at the publisher’s website.

via JMLA Case Studies in Health Sciences Librarianship

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