Drug InfoNet

A review of the Drug InfoNet web site information about psoriasis.

Grade F

Drug InfoNet is a general medical information Web site. They claim to be “your one-stop WWW site for all your healthcare informational needs.” They fall desperately short of this lofty goal in several ways relating to psoriasis. Perhaps they have more and better information regarding other, more common diseases.

Typing in the names of several common drugs used in the treatment of psoriasis into their search form turns up little. The first one I hit on was methotrexate, which is not a good sign, considering that I began with much less-potent drugs.

Entering “psoriasis” into the search turns up several items, the first one being the Psoriasis FAQ. These “Doctor’s Answers to Frequently Asked Questions” seems to be Drug InfoNet’s preferred method of providing information. They don’t seem to have a “FAQ-FAQ”, though, which might answer questions about the doctors themselves who are answering these questions, like what their qualifications are. I strongly doubt that any of the psoriasis questions were answered by anyone who specializes in psoriasis, or who has the time to make a thoughtful answer.

The Psoriasis FAQ begins with a question from a person and his/her 9-year-old sister, who both have scalp psoriasis, and were wondering about what the doctors think of cod liver oil. The doctors respond that they believe cod liver oil has “Not a great effect,” and then go on to say that drugs like methotrexate need to be considered in cases of severe psoriasis. It’s terrifying that things like coal tar shampoos, or steroid lotions aren’t mentioned first, or at all, in the answer.

Yes, coal tars and steroids and UV are all discussed later on in the FAQ, but only in the most general of terms, without mentioning side effects very much at all. Even “Vitamin D3 Therapy” gets discussed, but without any mention that calcipotriene is a vitamin-D3 analog, and that taking vitamin D3 supplements does not generally help psoriasis at all.

To summarize, when looking for detailed information about psoriasis, Drug InfoNet should probably be avoided in favor of the National Psoriasis Foundation (about which Drug InfoNet is silent). When looking for information about the drugs commonly used in the treatment of psoriasis, sites like RxList should be checked, as Drug InfoNet seems to have good data on very few drugs. Perhaps these things will change in the future, and Drug InfoNet will provide a detailed description of the disease, along with better information about its treatment, but for the moment, please follow Drug InfoNet’s disclaimer (talk with your doctor) very carefully.