Author(s): Hallingbye T, Serafini M
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Abstract The objective of this study was to assess the quality of websites presenting treatment information for postherpetic neuralgia. The term "postherpetic neuralgia treatment" was searched using the Google and Yahoo search engines. Fifty websites from each were evaluated using the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) benchmarks, the Health on the Net (HON) seal, and the DISCERN instrument. The treatments suggested on each website were compared with 3 recognized first-line treatment options (antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical lidocaine). Less than half of the included websites fulfilled all JAMA benchmark requirements. Less than one-third of the websites displayed the HON seal. The DISCERN instrument evaluation revealed that most websites were of moderate quality. Commercial websites tended to be inferior in comparison to noncommercial websites. Most websites recommended at least 2 of the 3 recommended treatments as well as several second- and third-line treatments. One-third to one-half of websites recommended a nonbeneficial treatment. In conclusion, many different postherpetic neuralgia treatments are found on the Internet and patients may be left separating recommended treatments from nonrecommended treatments without help from their healthcare providers. PERSPECTIVE: This study examined the quality of websites related to postherpetic neuralgia treatment. The results demonstrated that most websites offering advice on postherpetic neuralgia treatment are of only moderate quality and often offer treatment suggestions that are nonbeneficial. Patients and providers must use caution when taking advice from these sites. Copyright Â© 2011 American Pain Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Pain
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy