Online medication gaining popularity
Online medication is far more popular among patients with erectile dysfunction than visits to physicians, concluded researchers after evaluating both these modes of treatment for safety and merit.Updated: Aug 13, 2008 13:05 IST
Online medication is far more popular among patients with erectile dysfunction than visits to physicians, concluded researchers after evaluating both these modes of treatment for safety and merit.
E-medicine also appeared to excel in patient education. All the patients received printed product information, while 75.2 per cent received tailored e-messages.
Demand for online or e-medicine prescribing seems to be growing, but Utah University researchers raised serious concerns about the safety of Internet prescribing.
They randomly selected 1,000 medical records from patients who sought ED treatment from Jan 1, 2001 to Dec 31, 2005. Half of these patients used online prescriptions and the other half consulted a physician for treatment.
Using statistical analyses, researchers compared the safety of e-medicine and traditional medicine. These comparisons looked at a number of criteria, including prescription appropriateness, how often prescribers used a diagnostic tool called the International Index of Erectile Questions (IIEQs) and the level of patient education provided by prescribers.
In 2002, Utah signed a contract with an Internet service to prescribe erectile dysfunction drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to maintain a firm erection long enough to have sex.
In comparison, study data showed that no medication instructions were recorded for 51.8 percent of patients who received prescriptions via a traditional physician consultation.
"Innovation, technology and current medical practice all factor into the outcome of this study," noted the authors. "Application of an expert interview system specifically targeted to erectile dysfunction along with a continuous platform for patient client-physician communications, make this particular Internet system comparable to traditional medical practice."
The study appeared in August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.