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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Websites offer “poor quality” cholesterol-lowering drugs

Friday February 3rd, 2012

Patients are being warned against buying statins via the internet because of their poor quality and lack of information about how to use the medicine.

A study led by Professor David Brown, School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, England, warned that websites offering statins for sale “contain little information on the safety of these drugs, which are intended as prescription only medicines”.

Researchers simulated a customer search and evaluation of 184 retrieved sites using evaluation tools that focused on quality and safe medicine use.

Results, published in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety, showed general contraindications were missing in 92.4 per cent of sites and contraindicated medicines were absent in 47.3 per cent.

Key warnings on the appearance of symptoms associated with myopathy, liver disease, hypersensitivity and pancreatitis were absent in 37, 48.4, 91.3, and 96.2 per cent of sites respectively.

Prof Brown said that most websites presented a “chaotic and incomplete list of known side effects”, while just 13 (7.1 per cent) provided a list that was compatible with current prescribing information. Only two thirds described any side effects in lay language.

“There is an inherent danger in patients seeking to self-medicate in this way without consulting a healthcare professional and being appraised of ways to use the medicine safely,” writes Prof Brown.

Direct to consumer Internet advertising of statins: an assessment of safety. Brown D, Williams B. Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety. Vol 211. February 1 2012. DOI: 10.1002/pds.3208

Tags: Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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Comments

1At 22/06/2012 09:53pm Editor wrote

We've been notified that the journal that published this article has withdrawn it because of concerns about the accuracy of some of the figures. You can find out more here

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