2014 issue 2


Volume 30, issue 2

Original article

Second generation antipsychotics in the opinions of Internet forum users

Katarzyna Szaulińska1, Olga Sikorska1, Jerzy Samochowiec1
1. Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie, III Klinika Psychiatryczna
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2014, 2, 69–89
Keywords: schizophrenia, antipsychotics, subjective opinion, Internet forum


Introduction: Patients with schizophrenia use the Internet not only in search of support, but also to share their knowledge about the effects of medication. The aim of the study was a comparative analysis of the side effects of the second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) as described on the www.schizofrenia.evot.org forum and those listed in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC).
Method: Patients' posts in the section "drugs, therapies" (Polish: "leki, terapie") subsection "antipsychotics" (Polish: "neuroleptyki") were analysed for the period between February 2003 and March 2013. We were looking for information on the tolerance of the following drugs: amisulpride, aripiprazole, clozapine, quetiapine, olanzapine, risperidone, sertindole and ziprasidone. Next, we calculated the frequency of the occurrence of each side effect (in percentages) and presented the data against the frequency of their occurrence as listed in the SPCs.
Results: Users of the forum paid most attention to drowsiness, effects of the drug on body weight, disorders of sexual function and psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety, depression and cognitive disorders. The mention of gastroenterological symptoms and dizziness was lower than their occurrence in the relevant SPCs. Most users did not report any deviations in the results of their laboratory tests or ECG. What has been noted, however, is the aggravation of the symptoms of glaucoma in clozapine users, which was a serious side effect reported on the forum yet absent from the SPC.
Conclusions: The offi cial information released about a pharmaceutical product often varies from the opinions given by its users. However patients' subjective opinions, even if their sources are hard to verify scientifi cally, play an important role in the healing process and should not be ignored.

Address for correspondence:
Katarzyna Szaulińska
Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii, III Klinika Psychiatryczna
ul. Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa, Poland
tel.: +48 796 347 669
e-mail: szaulinska@gmail.com