Scientists find evidence of unreported Prescription Drug side Effects via Search Engines before FDA

Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd

Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study FindsUsing data drawn from queries entered into Google, Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University have for the first time been able to detect evidence of unreported prescription drug side effects before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system. ”

Read Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds by John Markoff.

Abstract

Adverse drug events cause substantial morbidity and mortality and are often discovered after a drug comes to market. We hypothesized that Internet users may provide early clues about adverse drug events via their online information-seeking. We conducted a large-scale study of Web search log data gathered during 2010. We pay particular attention to the specific drug pairing of paroxetine and pravastatin, whose interaction was reported to cause hyperglycemia after the time period of the online logs used in the analysis. We also examine sets of drug pairs known to be associated with hyperglycemia and those not associated with hyperglycemia. We find that anonymized signals on drug interactions can be mined from search logs. Compared to analyses of other sources such as electronic health records (EHR), logs are inexpensive to collect and mine. The results demonstrate that logs of the search activities of populations of computer users can contribute to drug safety surveillance.

Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd, jamia, 1 May 2013.

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