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Medical data mining strengthens drug safety

Data mining of the medical literature could help uncover drug side effects before they cause serious harm to patients, a new study suggests. Researchers from Santa Monica, CA think tank Rand surmised that a review of published studies could help regulators, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, spot dangerous uses of drugs earlier and prevent situations like the 2004 recall of rofecoxib--sold under the brand name Vioxx--following revelations that the arthritis drug could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke."Regulatory agencies and drug safety researchers may be able to use these techniques to improve decision-making about drug safety," Rand CTO Siddhartha Dalal and researcher Kanaka D Shetty, MD, wrote in a new article published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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