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Rev Assoc Med Bras. 2008 May-Jun;54(3):225-31.

[Medicine consumption and the internet: critical evaluation of a virtual community].

[Article in Portuguese]

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  • 1Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública/FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, RJ.



Discuss the promotion of medicines in the media by the analysis of dialogs from a virtual community, whose members use benzydamine in high doses seeking the collateral effects.


Opinions from a group in a Social Network Service (SNS) available in the internet were evaluated by the Analysis of Content Technique, whereas data from 385 members from this group were used to identify a profile of the individuals.


The profile found was male, age between 18 and 20 years and in high school. Analysis of opinions revealed the consumption of 16 to 20 tablets of the medicine, sometimes along with alcohol and the occurrence of the following symptoms: visual hallucinations, insomnia and gastrointestinal effects. In the dialogs, two discourses were identified: one recommends this non-therapeutic use and the other tries to dissuade individuals from using it.


A virtual community organized to discuss a non-therapeutic use of a medicine may contribute to its use. This fact reaffirms the necessity of a major campaign to alert individuals about the dangers of self-medication and also the importance of pharmacies and drugstores to comply with the sanitary legislation.

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