The conversation usually starts with some variation of, "you'll probably be mad at me, but I was reading on the internet...." No, I will not be mad at you for researching your illness and treatment. Informed consent is the bedrock of medical practice and well informed is better than not informed. However, not all information on the web is created equally. This raises the question for both me and my patients: How do we separate the "good" from the "bad" websites? First, the blogs (other than this one, of course) are on the whole unreliable. Many true stories there but there is also the great risk of bias and idiosyncrasy. There is a tenet in scientific research the one may make inferences about the specific from the general but not about the general from the specific. On the blogs there is not the depth of research, no context, and the discernment used to reach the current state about which one is blogging. Second, the Medical Library Association has compiled an excellent list of reliable websites on which have free public access on which anyone may research any medical topic. Some of the websites I have on my ipad home screen and utilize regularly, e.g., PubMed and Medscape. This list can be found utilizing the search words, "2015 CAPHIS Top 100 List Health Websites You Can Trust"
I will not review all these websites at this time but mention a few highlights. On the medication front the authors have included numerous reliable sources of information including the FDA Drugs Page, LactMed (for nursing mothers), and Medicine Safety: A Toolkit for Families. Much happens with medication that is out of the physician's and pharmacist's control. Once the medication is prescribed and dispensed then the patient takes responsibility for administration, storage, disposal, monitoring effects and side effects, and interactions with other medications that may be clinically noticeable to the patient and/or family. Well informed assessment of these between physician visits will help you receive much better informed recommendations from your physician. In a time of rapidly rising drug prices many patients will require financial assistance in medication purchasing. The list includes Needy Meds, a clearinghouse for various assistance programs.
The lists also includes several reliable sites for general and specific medical information. These include the CDC, The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center, The Mayo Clinic, MedlinePlus, and Merck Manual Home Edition. These are all useful and reliable.
The list also contains the link to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This site has valid and reliable information on many psychiatric disorders, treatment and support. The list also gives the link to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry--Resources for Families.
An informative website that exposes health related "frauds, myths, fads, and fallacies" can be found at quackwatch.com.
Many other websites are given that may be of value to you given your specific health concerns. Please take notes and we will discuss any questions that may arise.