If you rely on Google or Wikipedia for drug information, you could be missing important updates on safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues safety warnings when a prescription drug is found to have an adverse reaction in a particular patient population. FDA Safety warnings are posted on the MedWatch Portal. But these safety warnings don’t always make it to Google or Wikipedia in a timely manner.
In an article from the New England Journal of Medicine June 26, 2014, researcher Thomas Hwang and colleagues looked to see if safety warnings for 22 prescription drugs were included on Wikipedia pages about those drugs. They found that thirty six percent (36%) of the pages remained unchanged more than a year after a safety warning had been issued. This could be a problem if a health care provider is using Wikipedia to make clinical decisions about patient care. Below is an excerpt from the article:
“For example, the FDA issued a safety communication on January 13, 2012, that brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris), used to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large-cell lymphoma, had been linked to two cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. As a result, the FDA placed a new black-box warning about this risk on the drug label. However, there was still no mention of the new black-box warning on the drug’s Wikipedia page 2 years later.”1
It is very important that students and faculty in Touro Medical Schools and School of Health Sciences use reliable and updated sources for drug information. Fortunately, Touro Libraries provide you with excellent medical resources like Access Medicine.
Access Medicine is one of our Health Science subscription databases that includes extensive drug information and is updated immediately when an FDA safety warning is issued.
For example, here is an Access Medicine page that has been updated to reflect a new FDA safety warning.
AccessMedicine is also available as a mobile-optimized site, perfect for using on your tablet or smartphone. Get started today to have up-to-date drug information at your fingertips and get a head start in learning an important tool used by professionals throughout the medical field.
1. Hwang, T. J., Bourgeois, F. T., & Seeger, J. D. (2014). Drug safety in the
digital age. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370, 2460-2462.