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Date:3/31/2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Do you want information on Viagra or ibuprofen? Check out general social networks such as Twitter and Pinterest. Interested in sleep disorders or depression? You're better off going to specialized health social networks such as WebMD or drugs.com.

That is one of the findings of a just published paper, "Pharmaceutical Drugs Chatter on Online Social Networks," based on an analysis of more than 1 million drug-related posts, by a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering and Zhejiang University in China.

The findings have implications for a wide range of stakeholders. Healthcare providers have more knowledge when recommending social network sites to their patients, or to create new forums for particular health conditions or drugs, which are important given the increasing engagement of patients in their health management.

Also, health care marketing professionals may better focus their resources given a drug. And, researchers of healthcare content in social networks can use the results when selecting data sources.

The findings include:

  • Posts to health social networks, such as Web MD and drugs.com, were about twice as likely to have negative sentiment compared to those in general social networks, such as Twitter and Google+.

  • The same group of drugs are popular across all analyzed general social networks, while different drugs are popular in health social networks.

  • Posts about psychotherapeutic agents, such as Abilify and Cymbalta, are about five times more common on health social networks, while posts about genitourinary tract agents, such as Viagra and Cialis, are 16 times more common in general social networks.

The paper, soon to be published in th
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Contact: Sean Nealon
sean.nealon@ucr.edu
951-827-1287
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert

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