Sign up for Englemed updates from TwitterSign up for Englemed updates from Facebook
Contact Englemed
Our contact email address.
We can provide a specialist, tailored health and medical news service for your site.
Click here for more information
RSS graphic XML Graphic Add to Google
About Englemed news services - services and policies.
Englemed News Blog - Ten years and counting.
Diary of a reluctant allergy sufferer - How the British National Health Service deals with allergy.
BookshopFor books on women's health, healthy eating ideas, mental health issues, diabetes, etc click here
Copyright Notice. All reports, text and layout copyright Englemed Ltd, 52 Perry Avenue, Birmingham UK B42 2NE. Co Registered in England No 7053778 Some photos copyright Englemed Ltd, others may be used with permission of copyright owners.
Disclaimer: Englemed is a news service and does not provide health advice. Advice should be taken from a medical professional or appropriate health professional about any course of treatment or therapy.
Macrophage link to hypertension
Thurs Jan 17th - Macrophages in the immune system may have a key role in hypertension, according to a project in Edinburgh, UK. More
Haemochromatosis gene’s impact on carriers
Thurs Jan 17th - A genetic variant that causes haemochromatosis is more dangerous than previously thought, according to a new UK analysis. More
On 08/02/2018 David Kelly wrote:
Would you like to write a piece about this to be i... on Researchers unveil new pain re...
On 23/10/2017 Cristina Pereira wrote: on HIV breakthrough - MRC...
On 12/09/2017 Aparna srikantam wrote:
Brilliant finding! indeed a break through in under... on Leprosy research breakthrough...
On 01/07/2017 Annetta wrote:
I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 12 years.... on Seaweed plan for antimicrobial...
On 12/03/2017 Steph wrote:
The photo you have paired with this article is its... on 'Fat shaming' limits...

Twitter research highlights steroid worries

Tuesday February 13th, 2018

A study of social media has helped researchers establish the side-effects that bother patients taking common drugs.

The researchers at Manchester University, UK, led by Professor Will Dixon, examined almost 160,000 tweets to find those that mentioned side-effects of prednisolone.

Using a computer system to identify automatically tweets containing the drug name, as well as identifying mentions of what looked like a likely drug side-effect, they found the two most tweeted symptoms were insomnia and weight gain.

Writing in Digital Medicine, the researchers say while insomnia and weight gain are well-known side effects of prednisolone, research has historically focused on more serious side-effects such as osteoporosis and fractures.

The University of Manchester team harvested 159,297 tweets mentioning prednisolone over three years, around 20,000 of which also mentioned a suspected side-effect.

Of the tweets analysed, 1,737 mentioned insomnia, 1,656 mentioned weight gain, 1,576 mentioned non-specific reactions such as ‘I hate Prednisolone’, and 1,515 reported increased appetite.

Team member Dr Rikesh Patel said: “Though insomnia and weight gain were the two most commonly discussed side-effects, they are not usually highlighted by clinicians when prescribing prednisolone.

“Part of this is down to a lack of research investigating patient experience with their medications. We believe social media such as Twitter can be used to broaden knowledge about drugs and potential side-effects that patients themselves find troublesome.

“And this type of automatic extraction is an efficient way of getting this information, because we’re dealing with large volumes of data.”

Professor Dixon added: “Our view is that social media sources such as Twitter can be useful because they can illustrate which drug side-effects patients discuss most commonly, even if they are not necessarily the most serious.

“This form of research is clearly just one piece of the jigsaw, but it nevertheless is an important one. In this example, it helps re-focus our research into steroid-related side effects that are clearly important to patients.”

Patel R, Belousov M, Jani M et al. Frequent discussion of insomnia and weight gain with glucocorticoid therapy: an analysis of Twitter posts. Digital Medicine February 2018; doi:10.1038/s41746-017-0007-z

Tags: Pharmaceuticals | UK News

Printer friendly page Printer friendly page

Comment on this article:

<a>,<b> & <p> tags allowed
Please enter the letters displayed:
(not case sensitive)