Instagram Could Serve as Educational Platform for New FDA Drug Approvals

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics January/February 2024
Volume 168
Issue 01

An evaluative study on an open resource Instagram page that provides information on new medications to pharmacists was recently presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2023 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition.

Social Media platforms have become extremely popular over the past several years, with a now estimated 3.8 billions users worldwide. Certain sites like TikTok and Instagram have also recently become vital tools for providing accurate health care information to the public.1

Social media can also serve as educational platforms for health care professionals by providing up-to-date information on pertinent topics. Investigators from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo recently created an open resource Instagram page to provide new FDA drug approval updates to pharmacists.

The page aims to “offer a supplemental learning tool, further enhance continuing professional development, and engage life-long learning.” An evaluative study on the open resource page was recently presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2023 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, held from December 3 to 7 in Anaheim, California.2

Data for the new drug updates was gathered from the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Prescribing information was taken from the drug manufacturer’s website, national library of medicine, or Lexicomp. Physicochemical properties, like molecular weight, hydrogen bond donor, and hydrogen bond acceptor, were obtained from the databases ChemSpider and Scifinder.

Investigators have so far created and shared over 400 drug posters on the page as of June 2023. These updates encompass all of the new drugs approved by the FDA from 2015 through 2023. Each poster provides important information on medicinal chemistry, indications, pharmacology, recommended dosage, mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetic profiles, drug-drug interactions and contraindications, and adverse effects.

The posters, which are color coded and feature illustrations, are designed to “facilitate visual learning and foster interdisciplinary connections between foundational sciences and clinical relevance and applications.” The investigators believe that they can help pharmacists enhance their knowledge of newly approved medications, as well as sharpen their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills.

“In recent years, remarkable new medicine advances have been made with an average of 48 new drug approvals since 2017, with oncology, infectious disease, and central nervous system drugs being the top approved drug categories,” the authors concluded. “This open resource Instagram page provides a pharmacy educational platform of these newly approved drugs, engages active learning, and serves as a valuable medication and drug information resource.”

1. Malik A, Khan ML, Quan-Haase A. Public health agencies outreach through Instagram during the COVID-19 pandemic: Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication perspective. Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2021;61:102346. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2021.102346
2. Sun D. Using Instagram as an Educational Platform to Provide FDA New Drug Approval Updates. Presented at: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition; December 3-7, 2023; Anaheim, CA. Poster 8-025.
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