Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Sifting Social Media for Early Signs of Adverse Drug Reactions

 

From the 21 September 2012 article at Science Daily

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $130,000 grant to a team co-led by University of Virginia professor Ahmed Abbasi to fund research that will analyze social media, including tweets and online discussion forums, to identify adverse drug reactions — a process that promises to be much faster and perhaps also more accurate than the existing methods of identifying such reactions.

Currently, once drugs come to market, the FDA relies upon consumers to report adverse side-effects through physicians and other official reporting channels.

The new project, Abbasi explained, will build on related research, currently in publication in the journal ACM Transactions on Information Systems, that demonstrated the promise of social media as an early-warning system for adverse drug reactions. Abbasi and his co-authors retrospectively analyzed four types of public online media (websites, blogs, Web forums and social networking sites) posted from 2000 to early 2012 and were able to identify hundreds of thousands of documents containing adverse drug reaction-related information. The preliminary results suggest that these documents can accurately provide warnings earlier — in some cases, years earlier — than existing channels…

With nearly 10 billion new tweets produced every month, Abbasi said, social media presents a classic “big data” challenge: sifting through terabytes of noisy data to siphon out the nuggets of relevant and reliable information. With social media, information quality is always a concern; a single hypochondriac might produce dozens of unreliable reports of drug side-effects, he noted.

Online medical information is also plagued by medical Web spam: countless pages of medical misinformation designed to exploit consumer fears and sell unregulated remedies ranging from herbal remedies for arthritis to anti-aging skin creams, Abbasi said. Experts estimate that more than 20 percent of all medical information on the Web is spam.

Fortunately, Abbasi comes well-prepared for that challenge. He co-developed an award-winning fraudulent-website detection system able to detect fake medical websites with 94 percent accuracy…..

 

September 25, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

American Geriatrics Society Updated Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et...

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et patch transdermique de clonidine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the  April 2012 Full Text Report summary (with link to report)

Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) continue to be prescribed and used as first-line treatment for the most vulnerable of older adults, despite evidence of poor outcomes from the use of PIMs in older adults. PIMs now form an integral part of policy and practice and are incorporated into several quality measures. The specific aim of this project was to update the previous Beers Criteria using a comprehensive, systematic review and grading of the evidence on drug-related problems and adverse drug events (ADEs) in older adults. This was accomplished through the support of The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the work of an interdisciplinary panel of 11 experts in geriatric care and pharmacotherapy who applied a modi- fied Delphi method to the systematic review and grading to reach consensus on the updated 2012 AGS Beers Criteria. Fifty-three medications or medication classes encompass the final updated Criteria, which are divided into three categories: potentially inappropriate medications and classes to avoid in older adults, potentially inappropriate medications and classes to avoid in older adults with certain diseases and syndromes that the drugs listed can exacerbate, and finally medications to be used with caution in older adults. This update has much strength, including the use of an evidence-based approach using the Institute of Medicine standards and the development of a partnership to regularly update the Criteria. Thoughtful application of the Criteria will allow for (a) closer monitoring of drug use, (b) application of real-time e-prescribing and interventions to decrease ADEs in older adults, and (c) better patient outcomes.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Medical Association (AMA) News: Quantifying adverse drug events: Med mishaps send millions back for care (with Feb 2012

amednews: Quantifying adverse drug events: Med mishaps send millions back for care :: June 13, 2011 … American Medical News

Yes, this is old too..but interesting.

 

Reviewing drug lists and making sure patients understand how to take their medicines are two keys to preventing problems.

By KEVIN B. O’REILLY, amednews staff. Posted June 13, 2011.

Every year, adverse drug events send more adult patients to American physician offices and emergency departments than do pneumonia or strep throat.

The trips add up to an estimated 4.5 million annual outpatient visits related to medication problems, with seniors and patients taking more than six medications the most likely to show up in doctors’ offices.

The findings — the first published attempt to estimate the nationwide impact of adverse drug events in the ambulatory setting — come after an April report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that said 1.9 million hospitalizations annually are due to medication side effects or errors. Nearly three-quarters of the 4.5 million adverse drug event-related visits were to physician offices, said the study, published online May 10 in Health Services Research. About 400,000 of these 4.5 million patients are subsequently hospitalized.

…….

“This shows we have to do a better job of looking at medications as the culprits of a lot of the medical problems that are coming in,” she said.

4.5 million ambulatory visits each year are related to adverse drug events.

In total, one-half of 1% of all ambulatory visits are related to adverse drug events, the study said. That may not seem like a lot, but the 4.5 million annual adult outpatient visits for medication problems exceed the numbers for conditions such as strep throat (4.4 million) and pneumonia (4.2 million), said Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, lead author of the study.

“Those are things that we think of as common problems,” said Dr. Sarkar, assistant professor of medicine in residence at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine’s Division of General Internal Medicine. “We should think of this as a common problem too.”

Patients 65 and older were more than twice as likely as middle-age patients and nearly three times likelier than patients between 25 and 44 to experience adverse drug events serious enough to send them to a doctor or an ED, the study said. After adjusting for age, gender, insurance status and other factors, patients taking six drugs or more had the highest odds of experiencing adverse drug events…..

WEBLINKS

“Adverse Drug Events in U.S. Adult Ambulatory Medical Care,” Health Services Research, published online May 10 (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21554271)

“Medication-Related Adverse Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2008,” Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #109, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, April (www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb109.pdf)

Preventing Medication Errors, Institute of Medicine, 2007 (www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11623)

Institute for Safe Medication Practices Medication Errors Reporting Program (www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch/howtoreport/ucm085568.htm)

Food and Drug Administration on how to report serious adverse drug events to the agency (www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch/howtoreport/ucm085568.htm)

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , | Leave a comment

Taking A Predictive Approach To Identifying Adverse Drug Reactions

New mathematical method combines widely available data to potentially predict drug safety issues years earlier than currently possible

From the 21 December 2011 Boston Children’s Hospital news release

Boston, Mass. – In a move aimed at bolstering current systems for assessing and monitoring drug safety, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have created a new method that combines multiple forms of widely available data to predict adverse drug reactions. Unlike current approaches, which rely on detecting evidence of drug safety issues as they accumulate over time in clinical databases, this new method may be able to identify issues years in advance.

This study, led by Aurel Cami, PhD, and Ben Reis, PhD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Informatics Program (CHIP), appeared online December 21 in Science Translational Medicine.In a move aimed at bolstering current systems for assessing and monitoring drug safety, researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston have created a new method that combines multiple forms of widely available data to predict adverse drug reactions. Unlike current approaches, which rely on detecting evidence of drug safety issues as they accumulate over time in clinical databases, this new method may be able to identify issues years in advance.
This study, led by Aurel Cami, PhD, and Ben Reis, PhD, of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Informatics Program (CHIP), appeared online December 21 in Science Translational Medicine.

The safety of drugs in the market is currently assessed through a combination of adverse drug event (ADE) reporting and data mining tools designed to detect previously unrecognized drug-ADEs relationships. While generally effective, these methods may not be able to flag the presence of certain types of ADEs until patients have been on the drug for some time.

Because of these limitations, it can take years before physicians and regulators accumulate enough data to recognize serious safety problems with a particular drug and take appropriate action.

To help address these delays and the public health risks associated with them, Reis and Cami set out to create a mathematical model for predicting drug-ADE relationships that might likely appear within a few years of a drug’s entry into the market. …

Read the entire news article

Related Resources

  • MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program (jflahiff.wordpress.com)

    Some examples of good drug information Web sites

    Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information (from a MedlinePlus page)

    Prescription and over-the-counter medication information contains answers to many general questions including topics as what a drug is used for, precautions, side effects, dietary instructions, and overdoses. From the American Society of Health System Pharmacists

    Herb and supplement information includes information on uses based on scientific evidence as well as safety and potential interactions with drugs, herbs, and supplements. From Natural Standard, an independent group of researchers and clinicians.


    Drugs and Supplements (sponsored by the Mayo Clinic)

    Somewhat lengthy drug and over-the-counter medicationinformation with these sections: description, before using, proper use, precautions and side effects. From Micromedex, a trusted source of healthcare information for health professionals. 

    Herb and supplement information includes information on uses based on scientific evidence as well as safety and potential interactions with drugs, herbs, and supplements. From Natural Standard, an independent group of researchers and clinicians.

    Drug Information Portal

    A good central source of drug information by the US government (the National Institutes of Health). It links you to information on over 12,000 drugs from trusted consumer drug information sources, the US Food and Drug Information, and LactMed (summary of effects on breastfeeding), It also gives any summaries from medical and toxicological articles (however, some whole articles may not be for free on the Internet).

     

January 2, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | Leave a comment

   

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