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Ann Pharmacother. 2002 May;36(5):787-92.

Assessment of an online consumer "Ask Your Pharmacist" service.

Author information

  • 1San Francisco-Longs Drug Information Service, University of California-San Francisco, 550 E. Shaw Avenue, Suite 210, San Francisco, CA 93710-7702, USA.



To describe consumer demographics and the types of questions submitted to an online Ask Your Pharmacist (AYP) drug information service.


This is a retrospective review of a sample of consecutive queries submitted online to an AYP service between 1999 and 2000. All data were coded, transcribed, and evaluated in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Data regarding gender, age, patient relationship to consumer, allergies, medical conditions, products, and question types were evaluated.


One thousand eighty-seven queries involving drug information or health-related questions were evaluated: 65% of the queries were from consumers requesting information for themselves; 55.2% of queries originated from women; 61% of consumers were between 19 and 55 years of age. The 5 most listed medical conditions were depression-related, hypertension, allergies, pain, and infectious disease. More than 60% of the questions involved prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications; another 10% targeted herbal products or dietary supplements. Consumers were most interested in drug efficacy, safety, and drug interactions.


An AYP online service is a relatively new, unique way for consumers to receive medication information. Consumers of all ages use AYP services for both acute and chronic conditions. Most consumers asked questions related to their own health or medications. Consumers were more likely to ask questions related to prescription and OTC medications than to botanical and dietary supplements. Consumers were primarily interested in drug efficacy and adverse effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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