Cardiovascular diabetology

Lay media reporting of rosiglitazone risk: extent, messaging and quality of reporting.

PMID 19630978


A meta-analysis suggested the use of rosiglitazone was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) events. Rosiglitazone remained available for use as more definitive safety trials were ongoing. This issue was reported in the lay media. To review lay media articles to determine the extent of media coverage, the nature of the messaging, and to assess the quality of reporting. The Factiva media database was used to identify articles published between May 18 and August 31, 2007. Two reviewers (a lay person and a physician) screened full text articles for eligibility, appraised the articles for their tone (worrisome, neutral, not worrisome), and for the quality of medical data reporting. The search identified 156 articles, 95 of which were eligible for our review. Agreement between the lay and medical reviewers in the appraisal of the article tone was 67.4%. Among those with agreement, the articles were often appraised as "worrisome" (75.3%). Among those with disagreement, the lay reviewer was significantly more likely to appraise articles as worrisome compared to the medical reviewer (77.4% vs. 3.2%, X2 = 9.11, P = 0.003). Cardiovascular risk was discussed in 91.6% of the articles, but risk was often reported in qualitative or relative terms. There were many lay media articles addressing the safety of rosiglitazone, and the general messaging of these articles was considered "worrisome" by reviewers. Quality of risk reporting in the articles reviewed was poor. The impact of such media coverage on public anxiety and confidence in treatment should be explored.