Most Instagram posts incorporating a common, asthma-related hashtag promoted products or services that were not supported by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) recommendations, according to recent study results published in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology.
The study authors analyzed promotional Instagram posts incorporating a common, asthma-related hashtag uploaded between September 29, 2019, and October 5, 2019 to determine whether the content was consistent with the recommendations found in the GINA 2019 guidelines. Posts were categorized as either “consistent with GINA” or “not supported by GINA.”
Among the 2936 collected posts, the authors randomly analyzed a sample of 266, of which, 211 met study inclusion criteria. Of the 211 Instagram posts during the specified timeframe, 89 (42.2%) were determined to be promotional in nature. Of these 89 promotional posts, 29 were categorized as being consistent with GINA guidelines, while 41 posts promoted content that was not recommended by the current guidelines, and 19 posts promoted content that was unrelated to the guidelines. Most nonconforming content promoted nonpharmacological therapies such as black cumin seed oil, salt room therapy, or cupping sessions.
“In this qualitative content analysis of asthma-related promotional posts on Instagram, nearly 70% of the content recommended products and services that were not supported by or unrelated to the 2019 GINA guidelines,” the study authors wrote. “These findings shed additional light on the prevalence of misinformation and support a need to promote evidence-based resources online.”
Heineman B, Jewell M, Moran M, Bradley K, Spitzer KA, Lindenauer PK. Content analysis of promotional material for asthma-related products and therapies on Instagram. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2021;17(1):26. Published online March 8, 2021. doi:10.1186/s13223-021-00528-3