26 Mar

Trawling social media to find a better picture of drug side effects

This is interesting to me: a group of people mining twitter to look at the lesser reported side effects of drugs that might not get reported on up to the FDA due to them being not as dramatic.

I recently trawled newsgroups to find out that I wasn’t alone in having a reaction to a drug I’m on that gives me the munchies something awful. After noodling around the medical sites and not seeing much about it, I found a ton of anecdotes online from people who’d managed to isolate that same drug.

It was nice to know I wasn’t crazy.

“We found 295 instances of adverse events in the top 10 categories on Twitter – a number higher than is reported to the FDA. In the last 12 months for which data is reported (Jul2012-Jun2012, data is only available through June 2012 at time of writing), there has been an average of 8 adverse events where Claritin was the primary suspect in reports to the FDA, and 265 total adverse events per month where Claritin was mentioned to the FDA in conjunction with other drugs. Almost all of the cases we found on Twitter were primarily due to Claritin, over 30X the number of primary events that are reported to the FDA”

(Via Discovering Drug Side Effects with Crowdsourcing | The CrowdFlower Blog.)