Drugs.com reported a massive 20,900% increase (yes, you read that correctly – twenty thousand, nine hundred percent) in interest for information on the prescription medication Demerol – allegedly prescribed for the legendary entertainer Michael Jackson. More than 135,000 page views were logged on the Drugs.com web site by people researching Demerol this past Friday – the single biggest spike in daily interest for a medication since the similarly tragic and untimely death of Heath Ledger.
Demerol (meperidine) is a narcotic pain relieving medication. It works by dulling the pain perception center in the brain. Interest in the medication exploded from around 650 page views per day on average to 135,164 page views on Friday, June 26.
Aside from the amazing display of near real-time information dissemination triggered by this event, it would seem that recently deceased celebrities are inadvertently responsible for educating others about the potential dangers of prescription medications.
The passing of Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith also led to increased consumer research on medications such as OxyContin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Restoril. “We saw huge increases in page views for those medications, but the interest in researching Demerol surpasses anything we have seen before.” said Philip Thornton, CEO of Drugs.com.
While it is yet to be determined whether any prescription medication played a part in Michael Jackson’s tragic passing, the subsequent increased awareness may just help prevent unnecessary deaths due to the misuse of narcotic medications.
Drugs.com is the largest and most comprehensive drug information resource on the web with over 5 million unique visitors per month (ComScore, April 09). Providing free, independent, peer-reviewed, objective and up-to-date drug information at both consumer and professional levels, Drugs.com empowers patients and caregivers to take charge of their health and be more informed than ever before. The site includes many interactive tools to assist consumers and healthcare professionals such as a the new Mednotes personal medication records (PMR), a handy pill identification wizard, drug interactions checker and more.