A comparison of the content and primary literature support for online medication information provided by Lexicomp and Wikipedia

Julia Alexandra Hunter, Taehoon Lee, Navindra Persaud


Objectives: The research compared the comprehensiveness and accuracy of two online resources that provide drug information: Lexicomp and Wikipedia.

Methods: Medication information on five commonly prescribed medications was identified and comparisons were made between resources and the relevant literature. An initial content comparison of the following three categories of medication information was performed: dose and instructions, uses, and adverse effects or warnings. The content comparison included sixteen points of comparison for each of the five investigated medications, totaling eighty content comparisons. For each of the medications, adverse reactions that appeared in only one of the resources were identified. When primary, peer-reviewed literature was not referenced supporting the discrepant adverse reactions, a literature search was performed to determine whether or not evidence existed to support the listed claims.

Results: Lexicomp consistently provided more medication information, with information provided in 95.0% (76/80) of the content, compared to Wikipedia’s 42.5% (34/80). Lexicomp and Wikipedia had information present in 91.4% (32/35) and 20.0% (7/35) of dosing and instructions content, respectively. Adverse effects or warning content was provided in 97.5% (39/40) of Lexicomp content and 55.0% (22/40) of Wikipedia content. The “uses” category was present in both Lexicomp and Wikipedia for the 5 medications considered. Of adverse reactions listed solely in Lexicomp, 191/302 (63.2%) were supported by primary, peer-reviewed literature in contrast to 7/7 (100.0%) of adverse reactions listed only in Wikipedia. A review of US Food and Drug Administration Prescribing Information and the Adverse Event Reporting System dashboard found support for a respective 17/102 (16.7%) and 92/102 (90.2%) of Lexicomp’s adverse reactions that were not supported in the literature.

Conclusion: Lexicomp is a comprehensive medication information tool that contains lists of adverse reactions that are not entirely supported by primary-peer reviewed literature.


Wikipedia; Lexicomp; Prescribing Information; Adverse Events

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2018.256


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