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Top 20 Health Conditions, and Top 15 Prescription Brands, Researched Online

"Pregnancy" and "cancer" are the two most frequently searched health conditions, at 8.8 million and 7.7 million search queries, respectively.

Smoking-cessation treatment Chantix topped the list of frequently searched brand drugs, according to comScore.

Common health conditions such as diabetes, depression, and flu were in the top 20 but generate fewer searches than cancer and pregnancy, comScore found.

"A reason for this may be due to life-changing nature of a cancer diagnosis or a pregnancy," said Carolina Petrini, comScore SVP. "When facing a serious illness like cancer or after becoming pregnant or considering pregnancy, consumers often turn to the internet to search for information and educate themselves in a private setting."

Top 20 Most Commonly Searched Health Conditions

comscore-health-conditions-top-20-search-terms-feb-08.jpg

Conditions relating to relate to sexual or reproductive health (e.g., herpes, HIV, HPV, menopause and pregnancy) made up fully one-quarter of the top 20 list, as individuals appreciate the anonymity of the internet when searching for information about highly personal conditions.

Top 15 Searched Prescription Brands

People are likely to seek information about depression medication on the internet, comScore found. One-third of the top 15 commonly searched prescription brands are treatments for depression (Cymbalta, Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, and Paxil).

comscore-health-conditions-search-terms-top-15-prescription-brands-feb-08.jpg

In February 2008…

  • Pfizer's Chantix, a smoking cessation treatment, generated 500,000 search queries.
  • Adderall (an ADHD treatment) and Viagra (an erectile-dysfunction treatment) followed closely behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.
  • The twentieth-highest search term was Pfizer's Lyrica (a treatment for Fibromyalgia) due to its recent approval and subsequent brand marketing, which helped to raise awareness of the condition.

There is little or no correlation between a condition's prevalence and its search popularity, comScore noted:

  • People in the US who have diabetes outnumber those who have cancer by several million*, yet there were just 1.8 million search queries for "diabetes" - four times less than the number of searches for "cancer."
  • Approximately four million women a year give birth in the US, as reported by the American Pregnancy Association, but ten times that number (40 million) suffer from high cholesterol, as reported by the American Heart Association. "Cholesterol," however, garnered less than one million searches, far less than "pregnancy."

*According to data from the American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Health.

Image credit: Linnea Lenkus.

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