Why You Shouldn’t Trust ChatGPT Just Yet

We live in a curious world that changes faster than we can blink an eye; or so it seems. The newest curiosity are Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs online. ChatGPT has piqued the curiosity of the masses. But a new study found that AI on the Internet is not a reliable source for pharmacists.

ChatGPT’s answers to nearly three-quarters of drug-related questions reviewed by pharmacists were incomplete or downright wrong. What’s scary is that some inaccurate responses could have endangered patients, according to the study. Researchers also pointed out that the AI program even generated fake citations to support some responses.

If curiosity killed the cat, what will artificial intelligence (AI) programs do to those who trust it?

A presentation at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) 2023 midyear clinical meeting reports that the answers given by ChatGPT to nearly three-quarters of drug-related questions reviewed by pharmacists were incomplete or wrong. According to the Long Island University-led study, some of the inaccurate responses given could have endangered patients. The majority of answers were incomplete; many didn’t directly address the question; and others were simply inaccurate.

The investigators found that ChatGPT answered 10 out of 39 questions satisfactorily. The three most common questions were on therapeutics, compounding/formulation, and dosage. The responses give by ChatGPT lacked accuracy and completeness, and out of 29 questions that weren’t answered correctly, the chatbot didn’t have a response for 11 of them. Instead, it provided general background information.

Medications interact with one another. This can drop a person’s blood pressure to a dangerous level. Therefore, it’s vital that those who use ChatGPT for medication-related information verify the information using trusted sources. AI has also been used to recommend medications based on genetic profiles, which is something that is quickly making its way to pharmacies.

ChatGPT may be popular, however, it has competition. There are dozens of large language models out there today. Because ChatGPT is able to learn over time, it’s getting better with healthcare recommendations. However, the safest way for your patients to get healthcare recommendations will always be a phone call to you, their pharmacist.

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