Skip to content and How to Check Side Effects Online

David Rothman has recently linked to and said:

I’ve seen stupid applications of social media in healthcare, but this may take the cake as the dumbest I’ve seen in a good while.

I believe the concept that patients know better which drugs work the best is good, but you just cannot make sure those patients reviews are not coming from pharma representatives or companies. That’s why you can never trust the information on that site.

Mashable also has a review about


If I have to show a site to my patient that focuses on drug interactions and side effects, I would say is the best one to use.


I’ve come across the third example on the BioCS blog. SIDER seems to be quite useful as well.

After using side effects to predict drug targets, we now created a public database of side effects with a total of 62269 side effects for 888 drugs. The database was created by doing text-mining on labels from various different public sources like the FDA. Furthermore, I developed rules to extract frequency information from the labels, this worked for about one third of the drug–side effect pairs.


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. There is no scientific basis on uncontrolled anonymous user accounts. Useless and can also make damage! Why even publicize it?

    April 29, 2009
    • Medman #

      Given the recent disclosures about the influence of drug companies on “scientific data” at Emory, Harvard, JAMA and a lot of other places, I would take my chances with a large group of “anonymous users” over the current “pay to play” system!

      Seems to me that if enough people use it could produce some interesting revelations about side effects etc that might not be tested for in the clinical trials-or that show up 5 years later. I probably wouldn’t base my cancer treatment on it, but it would be great to be able to compare what real users say about a drug rather then just taking the word from the FDA or a big shot at an ivy league medical school who’s secretly on one of big Pharma’s payroll.

      April 30, 2009
  2. maggie #

    You can’t be sure of virtually anything on the Web, or anywhere else for that matter. Have you read the recent study on the genesis and slant of articles in the medical journals that your doctor, and presumably you as medical students, read? Now THAT’s shocking.

    But I know that my doctor just LOVES this site and encourages me to fill out periodic reports on everything I’m taking and e-mail them to him. I also keep a weather eye on other people’s reports about the drugs and alternative medications, both through rateadrug and google alerts. If I’m going to take medications (and sadly I need to) I’m damn sure going to consider anecdotal information, including mine, as well the information so kindly provided by entirely disinterested (ahem) drug companies.

    April 30, 2009
  3. Stuartbaszel #

    Scientific basis? Ha! looks better in comparison.

    April 30, 2009

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. and How to Check Side Effects Online | Temonws The World In Your Monitor
  2. 2009 in Numbers and Entries « ScienceRoll

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