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Wikipedia has never been known as the most credible source of information yet it is the most frequently consulted online healthcare resource. It may be concerning to know that most people use Wiki in relation to prescription drug safety information which is often not up-to-date.
Researchers conducted a study where they identified FDA safety warnings of 22 prescription drugs and examined the content on Wiki pages about the drugs for 120 days around the dates of the announcement. What the research was able to find is that with the FDA announcements on safety warnings there was a 175% increase in views of the Wikipedia drug pages.
However the facts about the information posted on these Wiki pages can cause some alarm. Only 41% of Wiki pages pertaining to the drugs in question were updated with the information provided by the FDA within two weeks. 23% was updated more than two weeks after the warning was issued whilst 36% still hadn’t been updated over a year later.
What the study found is that common disease and the drugs that were used for them are most likely to be updated in a timely manner with 58% of it updated within two weeks.
“Patients may not have the background or training to assess what’s good medical information and what’s not. So if the information they find online isn’t up-to-date, we have a real challenge,” study co-author John Seeger told “HealthDay”.
People should not only consider the information around health and prescription medication they find on Wikipedia but must also seek out multiple sources when online. They should also discuss the information found with a doctor.