BACKGROUND: The Internet may play a crucial role in the prompt provision of updated drug safety information. Nevertheless, limited knowledge of the English language among healthcare professionals or suboptimal search skills constitute barriers to widespread and appropriate use of the Internet for this purpose in Italy. In order to provide accurate information on drug safety and to promote the reporting of adverse drug reactions, in 1999 the clinical section of the Italian Society of Pharmacology created the website www.farmacovigilanza.org, financially supported by a non-profit foundation. The website promptly and independently provides news published in the international literature on drug safety, translated into Italian. The site also contains specific sections dedicated to adverse reactions to herbal products and cosmetic preparations. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this paper was to describe the number and characteristics of users and the most intensively visited sections of the website. Furthermore, in September 2006, 300 registered users who had accessed a registered users area aimed specifically at health professionals more than 20 times in the preceding 12 months received a ten-item multiple choice questionnaire via e-mail, to assess satisfaction with the accuracy and promptness of information provided, text comprehension and other information sources for drug-related issues. We hereby describe the results of the survey, after careful analysis of the questionnaires. RESULTS: Up until July 2007, the site had over 600 000 direct accesses and 9760 healthcare professionals registered to use the site. A total of 108 responses to the e-mailed questionnaire were received (response rate = 36%), of which 103 were analysed; five were excluded due to missing information. Overall, the majority of responders judged the information on the site as objective and understandable. More than 85% of participants declared that the site has influenced their opinion and attitudes toward the safety of medicines. In particular, responders said that they pay more attention to drug interactions and to the safety profile of newly marketed drugs, and spend more time on communicating the risks of drugs used by their patients. Specifically, responders stated that they pay more attention to drug interactions (87.7%), newly marketed drugs (68.5%), herbal remedies (56.2%), drugs in patients at increased risk (42.5%), drugs in pregnant women (42.5%) and cosmetics (13.7%). CONCLUSIONS: The website www.farmacovigilanza.org appears to be an effective tool that provides users of the site with independent, relevant and reliable safety information. It was found to influence (and possibly improve) the quality of prescribing of a large proportion of the general practitioners who responded to our questionnaire, and our results indicate a high appreciation of the information found on the website. Moreover, the survey disclosed that there is a substantial need for such information in the national language by healthcare professionals. We think that our approach can serve as a model for similar initiatives in countries elsewhere in the world.

Drug safety information through the internet: the experience of an Italian website

TRIFIRO', Gianluca;
2009-01-01

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Internet may play a crucial role in the prompt provision of updated drug safety information. Nevertheless, limited knowledge of the English language among healthcare professionals or suboptimal search skills constitute barriers to widespread and appropriate use of the Internet for this purpose in Italy. In order to provide accurate information on drug safety and to promote the reporting of adverse drug reactions, in 1999 the clinical section of the Italian Society of Pharmacology created the website www.farmacovigilanza.org, financially supported by a non-profit foundation. The website promptly and independently provides news published in the international literature on drug safety, translated into Italian. The site also contains specific sections dedicated to adverse reactions to herbal products and cosmetic preparations. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this paper was to describe the number and characteristics of users and the most intensively visited sections of the website. Furthermore, in September 2006, 300 registered users who had accessed a registered users area aimed specifically at health professionals more than 20 times in the preceding 12 months received a ten-item multiple choice questionnaire via e-mail, to assess satisfaction with the accuracy and promptness of information provided, text comprehension and other information sources for drug-related issues. We hereby describe the results of the survey, after careful analysis of the questionnaires. RESULTS: Up until July 2007, the site had over 600 000 direct accesses and 9760 healthcare professionals registered to use the site. A total of 108 responses to the e-mailed questionnaire were received (response rate = 36%), of which 103 were analysed; five were excluded due to missing information. Overall, the majority of responders judged the information on the site as objective and understandable. More than 85% of participants declared that the site has influenced their opinion and attitudes toward the safety of medicines. In particular, responders said that they pay more attention to drug interactions and to the safety profile of newly marketed drugs, and spend more time on communicating the risks of drugs used by their patients. Specifically, responders stated that they pay more attention to drug interactions (87.7%), newly marketed drugs (68.5%), herbal remedies (56.2%), drugs in patients at increased risk (42.5%), drugs in pregnant women (42.5%) and cosmetics (13.7%). CONCLUSIONS: The website www.farmacovigilanza.org appears to be an effective tool that provides users of the site with independent, relevant and reliable safety information. It was found to influence (and possibly improve) the quality of prescribing of a large proportion of the general practitioners who responded to our questionnaire, and our results indicate a high appreciation of the information found on the website. Moreover, the survey disclosed that there is a substantial need for such information in the national language by healthcare professionals. We think that our approach can serve as a model for similar initiatives in countries elsewhere in the world.
adverse reactions
pharmacovigilance
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Drug Safety Information Through.pdf

non disponibili

Dimensione 477.54 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
477.54 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia
articolo.sito.pdf

non disponibili

Dimensione 477.54 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
477.54 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1039535
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 2
  • Scopus 9
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 8
social impact