At Vivante, we’re the digestive health experts. We live for this stuff. Here’s a short summary of another academic article our gut health nerds found interesting…
When they were first introduced, biologic drugs came in with a bang and a lot of high praise. When researchers analyzed the chatter on social media, though, they learned there’s more to the story.
What are biologics?
Biologics are complex drugs manufactured by the use of living cells whose DNA is re-engineered. Biologics revolutionized the way doctors treat serious illnesses like arthritis, cancer, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
What are the pros and cons?
Serious side effects, routine blood testing, high price points, and awkward administration methods are just some of the issues that IBD users face while using them. Knowing all this, most prescribers still seem to think the pros outweigh the cons, but what do actual users think? Well, what better way to find out what people really think about biologics than by looking to social media? That’s exactly what a team of researchers did.
They combed through over 1,500 IBD-related posts on platforms like Twitter where users posted comments about the pros and cons of biologics. The results of the study were just as you might expect: a mixed bag. Most people (54%) had negative experiences with biologics, while others voiced uncertainty about whether they should even use them. Positive experiences with biologics were reported by 37% of users, and a large number, 27% just wanted to find out more about them.
When we drill down into the data, negative posts mainly focused on the side effects of biologics and concerns about pregnancy safety. Posts on decision-making (to take biologics or not) focused on alternative treatment options, hesitation to start biologics, and apprehension about changing or discontinuing regimens they were already on.
So what’s the takeaway?
The results of this research show the true complexity of navigating biologics for actual users. When is it safe to start them? What are the risks and benefits? Do other treatment options exist? The uncertainty around their use suggests a real need for support and resources that can guide patients through the puzzle-like decision-making process of using biologics.
About Vivante Health
Vivante Health is an innovative digital healthcare company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed. Our mission is to fill the unmet needs of people living with chronic conditions that are invisible, neglected, or stigmatized, starting with digestive disease. Our health management ecosystem, GIThrive, empowers people—through brilliant technology and advanced science—to spend less time worrying about their digestive condition and more time living life. VivanteHealth.com
Source: Patient understanding of the risks and benefits of biological therapies in IBD: Insights from a large-scale analysis of social media platforms https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28410343