A Swedish monitoring centre is using data mining techniques to help identify adverse drug reactions based on Yellow Card patient records.
The Yellow Card is the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) scheme, which has been used for over 40 years to collect information on suspected side effects from all types of medicines.
Professor Ralph Edwards and his team at the Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden, are running a pilot project looking at two million anonymous patient records, to try and identify common trends of adverse side effects, not already known to drug manufacturers.
Using an IMS Health Disease Analyser system, Uppsala is using data mining techniques to try and identify side effects not already known to drug manufactures, but are provable through data recorded.
Speaking at the Healthcare Computing conference, Prof Edwards, said: “We can actually look for all kinds of information, which is as close to reality as possible and from there we can aim to identify long term effects, based on the data collected.
“The aim is to create a fully informed hypotheses to make informed conclusions on safety issues which can then be looked at elsewhere.”
The data collected looks at patients before and after they used the drug concerned. Prof Edwards and his team then work together to analyse this data as closely as possible, and present their findings to the manufacturers.
“We are aiming to identify immediate problems, and find suggestions of risk and effectiveness balances,” Prof Edwards said.
In their early results, the Swedish team found some extra adverse reactions to a series of drugs including motion sickness relating to Malathion (lice treatment) and anxiety relating to Xylometazaline (nasal decongestant).
Prof Edwards said: “These techniques enable you to look through data in a transparent and thoughtful way, which can be sorted into categories such as age or type of injury whilst still preserving anonymity. Data mining is a considerable help in finding statistically significant information.”
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