Diabetes Treatment and Possible Factors Affecting its Effectiveness
This project was conducted to analyze public reviews and
deduce possible factors that might be responsible for the effectiveness ratings
in diabetes treatment.
A significant proportion of the world population is
diabetic, according to the World Health Organization, 8.5% of the current world
population is diabetic and in the, U.S, 9.4% amounting to 30.3 million people
live with diabetes.
Although there are many health service stores online, WebMd
was chosen for this project because of its independence and comprehensive
database. It is an online source for health-related information with huge user
review database that includes the name, date, gender, duration of treatment,
age range, comments and most importantly ratings based on effectiveness, ease
of use and satisfaction.
Scrapy, an open source website scraping framework was used
to extract data of 3 diabetes drugs. The drugs are Avandia Oral, Metformin HCl
and Invokana. All the information needed appear on one URL of WebMD which makes
Scrapy a perfect tool to scrap the website. Upon download, python and associated
packages were used to clean and visualize the data.
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
Effectiveness reviews of the drugs, the core of this project,
were analyzed alongside the satisfaction ratings.
Apart from metformin with slightly more than average review,
the drugs are highly rated in terms of effectiveness. Satisfaction ratings vary
from drug to drug, users are highly unsatisfied with Avandia and Metformin
while Invokana has a relatively favorable satisfaction.
From the plots in Figures 5,6 and 7, duration of treatment produced
more interesting visuals than age-range of the user. Effectiveness of the drugs tends to increase
with continued usage of all the drugs. Users of Avandia for over two years
period gave a very high effectiveness ratings while those that treated their condition
with either metformin or Invokana for at least three months rated the
effectiveness 4 stars and above.
The 2 figures above show the demographic make-up of the users, majority of diabetic patients are between the ages of 45 to 74 years, and are mostly females.
Scraping and analyzing WebMD reviews of three type II
diabetes drugs has given some insight into public perception of the treatment. Prior
to carrying out this project, one might assume a 5-star rated effective drug
would translate to customer satisfaction, but this analysis has shown that it is
not always the case and both can be independent of each other.
Further work will include sentiment analysis of the comments
which could help elucidate what is responsible for customer dissatisfaction.
Based on the reviews, effectiveness improves with increased
duration of treatment, while age-range of the patient does not affect potency
of the drugs.
Analyzing these reviews can help medical practitioners make
informed decisions based on real-life feedback as against the usual practice of
relying solely on the information supplied by the Pharmaceutical companies and
the FDA. More importantly is the insight this will give the producing
pharmaceutical companies of these 3 drugs and other diabetic drug manufacturers,
on the factors that affect the effectiveness of these drugs. In marketing,
companies should consider the messaging, and in production, manufacturers
should consider the formulations, active pharmaceutical ingredients and
excipients since most consumers will be advised to stay on the drugs for a long
period of time.