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14 August 2008
Internet Prescribing Trumps Doctor Consultation
by George Atkinson

Buying prescription drugs via the Internet has traditionally been viewed as either risky or downright dangerous, but a new study has found that Internet prescriptions provide a higher level of safety than doctor consultations. This surprising finding, made by researchers from the University of Utah, was the outcome of an analysis of an online prescribing service versus a traditional physician consultation for men seeking medication to treat erectile dysfunction.

To conduct their study, the researchers randomly selected 1,000 medical records from men seeking erectile dysfunction treatment. Half of these patients used the online prescriber (the e-medicine group) and half consulted a physician (the traditional medicine group) for treatment.

The researchers compared the safety of both approaches, looking at a number of criteria, including prescription appropriateness, how often the prescribers used a diagnostic tool called the International Index of Erectile Questions and the level of patient education provided by prescribers.

Writing about their findings in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the researchers noted that the e-medicine system "outperformed the traditional system in most of the safety variables tested." One area the e-medicine system appeared to excel was patient education. The authors noted that 100 percent of the e-medicine clients received written manufacturer product information, and 75 percent of e-medicine clients received tailored electronic messages. In comparison, no medication instructions were recorded for 52 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," the study concluded. "Application of an expert interview system specifically targeted to erectile dysfunction along with a continuous platform for patient client-physician communications makes this particular Internet system comparable to traditional medical practice."

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Erectile Treatments Said To Boost Self-Esteem And Sexual Confidence
Caution Urged On Erectile Dysfunction Self-Medication

Source: University of Utah

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