A Collaborative Assessment Among 11 Pharmaceutical Companies of Misinformation in Commonly Used Online Drug Information Compendia

Online drug information compendia, such as DailyMed and Lexicomp, are extremely helpful tools that help both health care professionals and consumers to learn more information about medications and pharmaceutical products. Although these resources are easily available and thus important to use during practice, the information included is not always accurate. During this study, researchers assessed 270 drug summaries from 5 common online drug information compendia over the course of six months in order to see if there was any misinformation.

Overall, the median of the total number of errors identified was 782. Errors were characterized as incomplete, inaccurate, or omitted. Inaccurate information was inconsistent with the medication guide, incomplete information had some of the information but not all of it, and omitted errors had information missing entirely that was included in the medication guide.  Most of the errors were found to occur in the categories of Dosage and Administration, Patient Education, and Warnings and Precautions.

In class, we learned about a number of methods in order to evaluate drug information resources in order to get the most correct answer. One way is to check multiple resources to confirm your answer. This eliminates the chance of relaying incorrect information. Dr. Owens suggested that we use the compendia UptoDate, but that we have a variety on hand. In this age where we have a variety of resources at our fingertips, how else do you think we can make sure that we have the most up-to-date and accurate information?

Randhawa AS, Babalola A, Henney Z, et al. Ann Pharmacother. doi:10.1177/1060028016635196 (published 25 February  2016). 

2 thoughts on “A Collaborative Assessment Among 11 Pharmaceutical Companies of Misinformation in Commonly Used Online Drug Information Compendia”

  1. I think this is very interesting and have found similar research about the topic of misinformation. It is important to consider multiple resources in order to obtain the most accurate information. I also noticed that you mentioned Dr. Owens suggestion of using UptoDate. I have had other professors say to never use UptoDate because the information is second-hand information written by different healthcare providers. I feel that in class we have learned the pros and cons to many of the databases for drug information. I think that to find the most accurate information, you must keep up with the literature and recent research studies. Having first-hand evidence to support your claims is key when determining what to tell your patients.

    1. I think this is really interesting because I know I personally rely on these online sources a lot of the time, whether it is for class assignments or counseling patients at work or at my community health site. While I normally don’t use Uptodate, it brings up an important point to be vigilant in making sure you are providing accurate information to patients and other health care providers. I often go the sources that the tertiary database cites to make sure it is a reputable source, like a package insert for the medication, to verify that the information I am finding is accurate and reliable. This is a really good study because it definitely is a reminder to not just take everything you find on these databases at face value, even if they are normally considered a reputable source.

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