Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Internet search data and unreported side effects of drugs

Public Health--Research & Library News

A very interesting use of crowdsourcing for medical research.

Using 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.

Using automated software tools to examine queries by six million Internet users taken from Web search logs in 2010, the researchers looked for searches relating to an antidepressant, paroxetine, and a cholesterol lowering drug, pravastatin. They were able to find evidence that the combination of the two drugs caused high blood sugar.

The study, which was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association [White, R.W. et al. Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd. J Am Med Inform Assoc doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001482] on Wednesday, is based on data-mining techniques similar to those…

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March 22, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drug Side Effects Successfully Predicted By Computer Model (with Fast Stats on Drug Failure Rates)

Cost efficient way to develop safer compounds

 From the 13 June 2012 Medical News Today article

A new set of computer models has successfully predicted negative side effects in hundreds of current drugs, based on the similarity between their chemical structures and those molecules known to cause side effects, according to a paper appearing online this week in the journal Nature. …

Drugs frequently interact with more than one target, with hundreds of these targets linked to the side effects of clinically used therapeutics. Focusing on 656 drugs that are currently prescribed, with known safety records or side effects, the team was able to predict such undesirable targets – and thus potential side effects – half of the time.

That’s a significant leap forward from previous work, which has never tackled hundreds of compounds at once, according to Brian Shoichet, PhD, a UCSF professor of pharmaceutical chemistry who was the joint advisor on the project alongside Laszlo Urban, MD, PhD, at Novartis.

As a result, it offers a possible new way for researchers to focus their efforts on developing the compounds that will be safest for patients, while potentially saving billions of dollars each year that goes into studying and developing drugs that fail. …

Drug Failure Rates

  • Estimated cost of bringing a drug to market: $1.2 billion
  • Only one in 5,000 drug candidates that enter preclinical testing ever reaches the market
  • For every five drugs that start clinical trials, only one succeeds
  • Of the 4,300 companies engaged in drug innovation, only 6% (261) have registered a new drug since 1950.
  • Worldwide, the pharmaceutical industry spends $50 Billion per year on R&D, but produces only 21 new drugs per year (2008)

    A Side Effect of Vicodin

    A Side Effect of Vicodin (Photo credit: thehoneybunny)

July 9, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Adverse drug events costly to health care system: Vancouver Coastal Health-UBC research

Adverse drug events costly to health care system: Vancouver Coastal Health-UBC research
Emergency department physicians call for screening tools

From the February 25, 2011 Eureka news alert

Patients who suffer an adverse medical event arising from the use or misuse of medications are more costly to the health care system than other emergency department (ED) patients, say physicians and research scientists at Vancouver General Hospital and UBC. Their research, the first to examine the health outcomes and cost of patient care for patients presenting to the ED with adverse drug events, is published today in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.***

The research team, led by Dr. Corinne Hohl, emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital and research scientist with the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation at Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia, studied the health outcomes of patients who had presented to the emergency department with an adverse drug event and compared them to patients who presented for other reasons.

An adverse drug event is an unwanted and unintended medical event related to the use of medications.

After adjustment for baseline differences between patient groups, researchers found no difference in the mortality rate of the patients they studied, but those presenting with an adverse drug event had a 50% greater risk of spending additional days in hospital, as well as a 20 % higher rate of outpatient health care needs. The team followed 1,000 emergency department patients from Vancouver General Hospital for six months.

This new research builds on a 2008 study, published in the Canadian Medical Journal, which showed more than one in nine emergency department visits are due to medication-related problems.

“What we are finding is that these incidents are common and costly, both in terms of patient health and utilization of health care dollars,” says Dr. Corinne Hohl. “We also know that these events are hard for physicians to recognize, and that nearly 70 percent of these incidents are preventable.”

In BC alone, hospital emergency departments treat an estimated 210,000 patients each year for adverse drug events. The most common reasons for them are adverse drug reactions or side effects to medication, non adherence, and the wrong or suboptimal use of medication. The research team estimates that the cost of treating these patients is 90% greater than the cost of treating other patients after adjustment for differences in baseline characteristics. The added cost could be as much as $49 million annually.

The research team has been developing screening tools to better assist health care providers in the emergency department in recognizing patients at high risk for adverse drug events, as well as developing an evaluation platform that will help inform prescribing practices for physicians in the community

“We anticipate the development of a screening tool will be able to increase the recognition rate of these adverse drug events from 60 to over 90 percent, and we will be able to treat the patient effectively and rapidly, improving his or her care,” says Dr. Hohl.

“Right now we spend a lot of time trying to diagnose what is wrong with the patient, yet often miss the fact that there is a medication-related problem. This means that patients often go home still on a medication which may be causing harm.” We are also using the data from this research project to help develop a new drug evaluation platform to inform prescribing practices for physicians in the community. The hope is to prevent many of these adverse events from even taking place.”

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Funding support for this research is through Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the Department of Surgery at the University of British Columbia.

**Not at Web Site as of this posting

To obtain this article for free or at low cost click here for suggestions

 

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February 25, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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