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Who Writes Medication Reviews Online?

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posted on Jul, 24 2009 @ 12:23 AM
This is a pretty obvious conspiracy, but I was wondering if anyone had any input and commentary on it.

I look up medication information online all the time. It's a bad idea, I don't recommend it. Here's why-

There are three and a half types of people who comment on medications online.

1. People who are looking for new medications, or checking up on a medication that they take. Sometimes doctors can't provide enough information about it, or you're looking for yourself or for a friend, or you want to see how common certain side effects are. Whatever.

2. People who are dissatisfied with a medications, are very unhappy, are a small percentage of the full population who takes the medication, and who feel the need to let everyone else online know how awful it is. For them. If you're happy with a medication, you don't think about it. You just take it and you don't feel the need to let others know about it.

3. This one is a hunch. And a conspiracy. People who support a competing medication who post negative things about a medication to make less people use it. Sometimes they suggest theirs as an alternative, but that makes it obvious. Usually they just give very very low ratings with little explanation, or citing all of the worst possible side effects.

3 1/2. People who are genuinely happy with their medications and who want others to know that it's a good medication for them.

Clearly since medications are different for everyone, from pain meds to tooth whitening products to antidepressants to whatever, reading reviews online is kind of dumb. I still do it, and I find that it makes you more nervous about taking something than comforted. Pick any medication and you can find horror stories about it. It's my belief that many of these stories are due to some misuse, a misunderstanding of the directions, or lies. But I believe some of them are genuine.

I don't know, but I think that if every story about a medication online was true, many more would be discontinued. I also think that the internet is a great, tricky place to market. And probably people endorsing one product would be proud to shoot down a competitor.

Personally I think the reviews should be removed from the internet. I think that organizations should be put up, non profit organizations, to gather information on a regular about side effects and satisfaction about medications and present it to the public. More in-depth than the stats you find on the little sheets of paper folded stapled to your perscription.

This way, any sponsers could be screened out. It would take some time and effort. People would have time to think, rather than going and posting as soon as something happens with all the blame on the medication. There are mitigating factors the reader doesn't know about, other contributing factors which could create some of the side effects recorded by someone who posts about a bad medication. There's no way for the reader to know what is from the medication and what could be caused by something else, if the writer is on the medication at all, and much less anything about the larger percentage of the population who takes the medication and is satisfied with it.

But at this point, tons of man-hours are spent daily writing, organizing, and reading reviews of medications and procedures, when everything depends on the individual and only you and your doctor can decide if the benifits outweigh the risks.

posted on Jul, 24 2009 @ 02:26 PM
Honestly I think all user input reviews are fake and I don't put much faith into any of them.

Regardless of the product. Whether it's medications, or a video game, or something from Amazon.

The reason I believe this is because of the inherent laziness of most consumers, myself included...

If I purchase something and I'm not happy with it, I might be inclined to put a negative review of it. For example, a friend was ripped off on Ebay and I told him to write a negative review so other people would not get ripped off as well.

However, with a product like a medication, it's a very different story. I also research medications online, as a supplement to real medical advice. I find it very hard to believe that someone would go onto a website, if they are satisfied with the medication to write a good review. "Wow, tylenol really got rid of my headache!" I also find it hard to believe that someone would write "tylenol didn't do squat for me!" I think they'd sooner just move on and try advil instead.

The vast majority of the reviews and comments on such products are most likely coming from the company themselves (pro) or their competition (anti).

I know Amazon has tried to avoid this problem by using "real name" verification for their reviewers and weighting those more heavily, however, nothing is 100%.

In short, I think the only way to find reliable reviews of meds would be to research actual studies and of course to evaluate statements from your doctor. The online review process is just too open for abuse and tainted.

posted on Jul, 24 2009 @ 03:19 PM
There are good databases (well, without reviews of course. Just very detailed side effects, interactions, dosages and such) on the net but they are not free. If you want to get more data then appears in leaflet of the drug (and less data is not possible
) - i suggest to go to library and search for Pharmacopoeia. USP-NF in US, for example. It will give you almost all the data available.
And if you interested in certain side effects of specific drug (or interactions) and are capable of filtering out the informational overload - go to Pubmed site
and use its awesome search engine. It will show abstracts of almost all scientific articles on what you search and some of them would be linked to free online source. A lot of work but info is reliable once there is always in the back of the head that some of those articles where published using manufacturers/competitors money.
Edit. Oops, forgot to add that using active ingredient and not actual product name is usually most efficient.

[edit on 24-7-2009 by ZeroKnowledge]

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 12:50 AM
Most internet reviews, as you said, are of a general nature because the people who do this think the average person is not educated to understand the indications and usage of say, Amoxicillin for Haemophilus influenzae, Strep pneumoniae and other terms about quantitative methods, zone diameters of laboratory testing, and they are right about people not needing to know the extent of Contraindication and Warnings that must be discussed, say in a PDR because it would scare many people into not taking a needed medicine. People don't need to know that stuff it is too much information. Actually, I would rather discuss any medicine that I had questions about with a pharmacist, I believe they have a much better understanding of medicine than a family doctor. That is just my opinion. I doubt pharmaceutical reps are on the internet advertising meds when all they have to do is go give the doctors a bunch of free samples.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 12:54 AM
reply to post by catamaran

I totally agree. I think people, like myself, want to see how the risks play out in the real population. It's understandable to want to know that. But since the reviews online are an inaccurate representation of the real population, it's kind of pointless to even look.

In my experience, I've had doctors or pharmacists not know specifically about one medication or another and they either tell me not to worry, or point me to the general usage information. The print is so darn small, you know? I stopped one medication because it had been proven to cause seizures in up to one out of 250 people. And no one said anything to me beforehand.

It's still helpful, but it's hard to weed out the nonsense.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 12:55 AM
reply to post by ZeroKnowledge

My mom uses Pubmed all the time. I think it's a great resource. But sometimes user testimony would be really helpful, especially with things like tooth whitening products or acne medication or something. Unfortunately, most of the testimony out there is inaccurate.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 01:06 AM
I had a phenomenal conversation with Jim Marrs about the use and overuse of medications in America today while we were at the Nov. 5th event.

One of the things he mentioned was how many people are pushed to take medications by the pharma industries.

Following that train of thought, I don't think it's very far reaching to say that the companies have people post positive reviews.

So many people look up medical info on websites like webmd etc so I can't say I'd be shocked...

The amount of people taking pills, and then taking pills to counteract the side effects of the first set of pills. I dunno. Anything is possible.

posted on Jul, 26 2009 @ 01:14 AM
reply to post by Djarums

With the economy, I wonder if employees of companies and their families post positive things about the medications that the companies market. And negative things about the competing companies.

This way, they encourage the sale of the products that their company makes, ensuring business... and vicariously, their own jobs.

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