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J Med Internet Res. 2001 Jan-Mar;3(1):E2.

Internet-based prescription of sildenafil: a 2104-patient series.

Author information

1
Consultative & Diagnostic Pathology Inc., Lee's Summitt, MO 64081, USA. FinalDoc@mindspring.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Internet is becoming increasingly important as a way for patients to acquire medical information and as a means for patient-physician communication. Questions about appropriate use of this new technology have been brought to the fore by the many patients using the Internet to seek sildenafil prescriptions.

OBJECTIVE:

To present the first description of a physician designed and directed Internet-based prescribing system of sildenafil, together with data covering more than 2,100 patient encounters.

METHODS:

Retrospective analysis of a large case series from a medical practice that prescribes sildenafil based on medical and sexual histories obtained through a physician designed and directed World Wide Web (WWW) site, compared against patients from clinics at a Midwestern inner city medical center. We compared all 2,104 Internet patients seeking sildenafil prescriptions online between June 14, 1998, and March 1, 1999, with all 36 medical center patients obtaining sildenafil prescriptions during the same period. The outcome measures compared were: completeness of medical record; patient safety as noted by the follow up responses of all patients requesting refills, any comments received by the internet site (webmaster), and patient or physician comments noted in the clinic medical record; satisfaction as noted by the follow up responses of all patients requesting refills, any comments received by the internet site (webmaster), and patient or physician comments noted in the clinic medical record; examinations and laboratory tests.

RESULTS:

Fifty-six percent of Internet requests came from 46 states, and 44% from eight foreign countries. Of 2,104 requests, 2,100 were granted. Three hundred ten patients have requested medication refills: all reported erections sufficient for intercourse and 69% said their satisfaction exceeded all expectations; none were at all dissatisfied. Side effect rates were comparable to those in the literature. Comparison of the medical history obtained from Internet patients with that recorded in clinic patients' charts revealed that the former was far more complete. No clinic patient received any examination or laboratory test specific for erectile dysfunction or its causes. There were no reported deaths or serious complications in either group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Internet-based prescription of sildenafil provides the physician with a complete and very detailed medical and sexual history for 100% of patients without denying any information routinely obtained in a direct patient contact setting. Internet-based practice, which may be expected to require far fewer healthcare resources than traditional settings, rates very high in patient satisfaction among patients requesting a refill; no negative comments were received from all other patients. Overall, these data support the safety and effectiveness of Internet prescribing of selected medications.

PMID:
11720944
PMCID:
PMC1761892
DOI:
10.2196/jmir.3.1.e2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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