Web-scale pharmacovigilance: listening to signals from the crowd

Listen to Dr. Eric Horvitz discuss our work with Ira Flatow on NPR’s Science Friday.
Improving Healthcare, One Search at a Time, March 15, 2013, source

“…the Stanford and Columbia University joint research team sifted though 6 million users’ internet search queries (which you’ll be uncomfortable to know, are forever saved in web search logs) and looked for searches that related to the antidepressant paroxetine and the cholesterol-lowering drug pravastatin.”
Your Google Searches Can Uncover Drug Side Effects Faster Than the FDA, March 6, 2013, source

“Much like Google Flu Trends reveals influenza outbreaks by tracking flu-related search terms, search queries about drug combinations and possible side effects-say, “paroxetine,” “pravastatin,” and “hyperglycemia”-might enable researchers to identify unanticipated downsides.”
Should You Mix Those Two Drugs? Ask Dr. Google, March 6, 2013, source

“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.”
Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data, Study Finds, March 6, 2013, source