Big data for big medicine

Apparently scientists are now using big data to discover otherwise unknown drug interactions. For instance:

“The researchers first identified individual searches for the terms paroxetine and pravastatin, as well as searches for both terms, in 2010. They then computed the likelihood that users in each group would also search for hyperglycemia as well as roughly 80 of its symptoms — words or phrases like ‘high blood sugar’ or ‘blurry vision.’

“They determined that people who searched for both drugs during the 12-month period were significantly more likely to search for terms related to hyperglycemia than were those who searched for just one of the drugs. (About 10 percent, compared with 5 percent and 4 percent for just one drug.)”

The scientists say this could be a valuable tool for the FDA because “You can imagine how this kind of combination would be very, very hard to study given all the different drug pairs or combinations that are out there.”

Here’s the article.

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