Websites selling statins sketchy in details

February 2nd, 2012 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 2 (IANS) Most websites advertising statins for sale contain rather sketchy information relevant to safe use of the medicine and side-effects, reveals a study.

The study led by researcher David Brown, professor School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Portsmouth, simulated a customer search and evaluation of 184 retrieved sites using evaluation tools focusing on quality and safe medicine use.

Results showed that a potential purchaser of statins (cholesterol busting drugs) is likely to encounter websites from a wide geographical base of generally poor quality, the journal of Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety reported.

General contra-indications (condition which makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable) were absent in 92.4 percent of sites and contra-indicated medicines were absent in 47.3 percent, according to a university statement.

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 percent of sites, respectively.

Most websites presented a chaotic and incomplete list of known side effects; just 13 (7.1 percent) presented a list compatible with current prescribing information. Only two thirds (65.8 percent) attempted to describe any side effects in lay language.

“Websites offering statins for sale contain little information on the safety of these drugs, which are intended as prescription only medicines,” Brown noted.

“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,” added Brown.

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