Don't Trust Wikipedia For Pharmaceutical Advice

Consider yourself warned: Use Wikipedia to research prescription drugs and you might not get all the information you need. Like whether or not the drug in question will cause a miscarriage, for example. Reports Reuters:

Entries were often missing important information, for example the fact that the anti-inflammatory drug Arthrotec (diclofenac and misoprostol) can cause pregnant women to miscarry, or that St. John’s wort can interfere with the action of the HIV drug Prezista (darunavir).

The researchers compared Wikipedia to Medscape Drug Reference (MDR). MDR provided answers to 82.5 per cent of the questions, Wikipedia could only answer 40 per cent. Of the answers the researchers found on Wikipedia, none were factually inaccurate, while there were four inaccurate answers in MDR. But the researchers spotted 48 errors of omission in the Wikipedia entries, compared to 14 for MDR.

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Photo: brian cors

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