It’s Getting Easier to Find Good Drug and Health Info…

Topics: Aging and Costs of Aging, Clinical Research, Drug Food Safety, Wellness and Health
Water from a glass without plastics

…but you still need a curator: someone you trust to help you interpret–with and for you–what you find, read, watch.

The fact is that you can now learn almost anything you want to learn on the internet.  I could, I think, stay in front of my monitor for hours at a time, just reading, watching listening.  In fact, I have.

What you haven’t been able to do is separate the wheat from the chaff.  Or, having managed to separate it, know how to interpret it for you, and your condition, personally.

I find Apple’s new HealthKit fascinating, and have long been a supporter of FitBit, Jawbone and other wearable tracking devices (I even presented my REFUEL program for men at a national Quantified Self meeting, in part because we used gender-specific texts to help motivate men to eat healthfully and get stronger…and it worked!). But I still think there will be a role–an essential role–for clinicians who want to help others by interpreting that advice, personally.

Because health care is nothing if not personal. And what a blood sugar of 190 might be for you is not the same as it might be for someone else, given their own medications, conditions and refrigerator.

So the good news first: there are great resources about health that rely on serious science and often translate it into easy-to-understand and even use lists of eat this, don’t eat that; take this don’t take that; track this don’t track that.  Four of my current favorites:

*Iodine.com: type in a prescription or non prescription drug, get its profile, crowdsources from thousands of people who have taken it

*NeedyMeds.org:  assistance programs available from pharma for patients who cannot afford medications, with government assistance programs and coupons.

*Netwellness.org:  a global, community service providing quality, unbiased health information from 3 Ohio universities; commercial-free.

*PeoplesPharmacy.com: alternative, often folk remedies for common conditions, run by the same couple for decades, and broadcast on NPR nationwide weekly, with an extensive section on prescription medication as well

*RxList.com: This site has information about prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbs, and supplements, searchable by generic and brand name. It also has a useful pill identifier tool, information and slide shows about diseases and health topics, and a medical dictionary.

The bad news: there  that anxiety drugs (the benzodiazepines) may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and that the 9 most popular, “worth it” drugs in the eyes of 100k consumers are *All* over the counter remedies for cold, cough, aches, pains and constipation cannot be comforting to pharmaceutical manufacturers.

But fortunately neither physicians nor consumers are reliant on those companies to educate.  You can rely on the sites above…and your curator.