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Views of oral antibiotics and advice seeking about acne: a qualitative study of online discussion forums

Views of oral antibiotics and advice seeking about acne: a qualitative study of online discussion forums
Views of oral antibiotics and advice seeking about acne: a qualitative study of online discussion forums
Background: Acne vulgaris is common and can significantly impair quality of life, yet little is known about patients’ understanding of acne and its treatments. Oral antibiotics are widely used for acne, despite concerns about antibiotic resistance. People are increasingly turning to online discussion forums for advice and information on these sites may influence health beliefs and treatment adherence.


Objective: To explore understandings about the use of oral antibiotics for acne and advice shared amongst messages posted on online forums.

Methods: We systematically searched for online forums and identified four where acne was frequently discussed. Discussion threads relating to oral antibiotics were analysed thematically. NVivo 11 facilitated data handling.

Results: We extracted 136 pages of data; 65 discussions amongst 294 participants. We found a wide range of perceptions around effectiveness of antibiotics for acne and concerns about adverse effects. The delayed onset of action of antibiotics was a source of frustration and compounded dissatisfaction with healthcare providers, who people perceived as ‘fobbing them off’ with prolonged courses of ineffective treatment. Advice ranged from costly cleansers to when to ask for, or insist on, referral. Posts related to a wide range of severities, from ‘spots’ to severe acne, which may make it confusing for users to assess appropriateness of information.

Conclusions: Online forums offer opinions that could be confusing or lead to early abandonment of treatments, challenging consultations and patient dissatisfaction. Users expressed frustration about the delayed onset of action of antibiotics for acne, perceptions of only temporary effectiveness and adverse effects.
0007-0963
751-757
Santer, Miriam
3ce7e832-31eb-4d27-9876-3a1cd7f381dc
Chandler, David
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Lown, Mark
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Francis, Nick
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Muller, Ingrid
2569bf42-51bd-40da-bbfd-dd4dbbd62cad
Santer, Miriam
3ce7e832-31eb-4d27-9876-3a1cd7f381dc
Chandler, David
542d3b2a-f96a-4ced-bbae-fa205d831b19
Lown, Mark
4742d5f8-bcf3-4e0b-811c-920e7d010c9b
Francis, Nick
9b610883-605c-4fee-871d-defaa86ccf8e
Muller, Ingrid
2569bf42-51bd-40da-bbfd-dd4dbbd62cad

Santer, Miriam, Chandler, David, Lown, Mark, Francis, Nick and Muller, Ingrid (2017) Views of oral antibiotics and advice seeking about acne: a qualitative study of online discussion forums. British Journal of Dermatology, 177 (3), 751-757. (doi:10.1111/bjd.15398).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Acne vulgaris is common and can significantly impair quality of life, yet little is known about patients’ understanding of acne and its treatments. Oral antibiotics are widely used for acne, despite concerns about antibiotic resistance. People are increasingly turning to online discussion forums for advice and information on these sites may influence health beliefs and treatment adherence.


Objective: To explore understandings about the use of oral antibiotics for acne and advice shared amongst messages posted on online forums.

Methods: We systematically searched for online forums and identified four where acne was frequently discussed. Discussion threads relating to oral antibiotics were analysed thematically. NVivo 11 facilitated data handling.

Results: We extracted 136 pages of data; 65 discussions amongst 294 participants. We found a wide range of perceptions around effectiveness of antibiotics for acne and concerns about adverse effects. The delayed onset of action of antibiotics was a source of frustration and compounded dissatisfaction with healthcare providers, who people perceived as ‘fobbing them off’ with prolonged courses of ineffective treatment. Advice ranged from costly cleansers to when to ask for, or insist on, referral. Posts related to a wide range of severities, from ‘spots’ to severe acne, which may make it confusing for users to assess appropriateness of information.

Conclusions: Online forums offer opinions that could be confusing or lead to early abandonment of treatments, challenging consultations and patient dissatisfaction. Users expressed frustration about the delayed onset of action of antibiotics for acne, perceptions of only temporary effectiveness and adverse effects.

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bjd15398 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 June 2017
Published date: September 2017
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences, Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 406187
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406187
ISSN: 0007-0963
PURE UUID: 5bf3f201-2d40-4cb7-b640-0445a4b2b896
ORCID for Miriam Santer: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7264-5260
ORCID for Mark Lown: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8309-568X
ORCID for Nick Francis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8939-7312
ORCID for Ingrid Muller: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9341-6133

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:41
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 05:06

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Contributors

Author: Miriam Santer ORCID iD
Author: David Chandler
Author: Mark Lown ORCID iD
Author: Nick Francis ORCID iD
Author: Ingrid Muller ORCID iD

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