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Ann Pharmacother. 2009 Apr;43(4):732-9. doi: 10.1345/aph.1L580. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Patient needs and sources of drug information in Singapore: is the Internet replacing former sources?

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



Patients are exposed to a broad range of drug information (DI) sources; among them is the Internet, which has been increasingly used over the years, especially by adolescents.


To identify patients' needs and common sources of DI; examine the differences in use of DI sources among groups, by age and sex; and better understand patients' use of the Internet as a source of DI.


A quota sample of 201 outpatients from National University Hospital in Singapore was surveyed. A questionnaire was developed to examine patients' needs for and common sources of DI as well as their experience with and attitudes toward using the Internet as a DI source.


Physicians (83.1%) and pharmacists (57.7%) were reported to be the most commonly used sources of DI regarding prescription drugs (n = 201), whereas pharmacists (40.9%) and relatives or friends (40.9%) were the most commonly reported sources for information about nonprescription drugs (n = 149). Respondents most commonly sought DI about adverse effects (72.6%), dosing (54.7%), and indications (54.2%). Among Internet users, people aged 31-50 years were more likely than those in other age groups to search the Internet for DI (p < 0.001). The Internet was considered to be a convenient source with a broad range of information; however, patients faced both the inability to find needed information and uncertainty about information reliability when searching for DI on the Internet.


Pharmacists play an important role in counseling patients about prescription and nonprescription drugs. There is a need to educate patients on how to locate and evaluate DI on the Internet.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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