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Is the Internet replacing health professionals? A population survey on sources of medicines information among people with mental disorders

  • Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä
  • J. Simon Bell
  • Satu Helakorpi
  • Ulla Närhi
  • Anne Pelkonen
  • Marja S. Airaksinen
Original Paper

Abstract

Background

People with mental disorders often report unmet medicine information needs and may search for information on medicines from sources including the Internet, telephone services, books and other written materials.

Objective

This study aimed to identify and describe the sources of medicines information used by people with and without mental disorders.

Methods

A cross sectional postal survey was mailed to a nationally representative sample (n = 5,000) of Finns aged 15–64 years in spring 2005. Completed responses were received from 3,287 people (response rate 66%), of whom 2,348 reported using one or more sources of medicines information during the past 12 months. Of those who reported one or more sources of medicines information, 10% (n = 228) reported being diagnosed with or treated for a mental disorder. The main outcome measures were the sources of medicines information used by people who did and did not report being diagnosed with or treated for a mental disorder.

Results

Among respondents with and without a mental disorder, physicians (83 vs. 59%), pharmacists (56 vs. 49%) and patient information leaflets (53 vs. 43%) were the most common sources of medicines information. After adjusting for age, gender, level of education, working status and number of chronic diseases, respondents with mental disorders were more likely to use patient information leaflets (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.06–1.98) and the Internet (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.02–2.64) as sources of medicines information than respondents without mental disorders.

Conclusions

The results indicate that physicians and pharmacists are the most common sources of medicines information among people both with and without mental disorders. However, patient information leaflets and the Internet were more commonly used by people with mental disorders. There may be an opportunity for clinicians to better exploit these sources of medicines information when developing medicines information services for people with mental disorders.

Keywords

Drug information services Internet Consumer health information Mental disorders European Union 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marika Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä
    • 1
  • J. Simon Bell
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Satu Helakorpi
    • 4
  • Ulla Närhi
    • 5
  • Anne Pelkonen
    • 6
  • Marja S. Airaksinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric CareUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Clinical Pharmacology and Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Unit, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  4. 4.Department of Lifestyle and ParticipationNational Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)HelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department for Social and Health ServicesMinistry of Social Affairs and HealthHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Social Insurance InstitutionHelsinkiFinland

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