Internet Data Mining Reveals Unreported Side Effect


Scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University, using automated software to mine data from 82 million internet searches for information related to, found a side effect related to interaction between an antidepressant (paroxetine) and a cholesterol drug (prevastatin) that had as yet gone undetected by the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System. The study, published online yesterday by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, found that people who searched for information on both drugs were more likely to do a search for information on hyperglycemia as well.

Abstract →White, R., Tatonetti, N., Shah, N., Altman, R., Horvitz, E. Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Online March 6, 2013

Of further interest:
Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds (NY Times)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].