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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2013 Mar;34(3):178-84. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Feb 13.

Informatics confronts drug-drug interactions.

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Biomedical Informatics Program, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) are an emerging threat to public health. Recent estimates indicate that DDIs cause nearly 74000 emergency room visits and 195000 hospitalizations each year in the USA. Current approaches to DDI discovery, which include Phase IV clinical trials and post-marketing surveillance, are insufficient for detecting many DDIs and do not alert the public to potentially dangerous DDIs before a drug enters the market. Recent work has applied state-of-the-art computational and statistical methods to the problem of DDIs. Here we review recent developments that encompass a range of informatics approaches in this domain, from the construction of databases for efficient searching of known DDIs to the prediction of novel DDIs based on data from electronic medical records, adverse event reports, scientific abstracts, and other sources. We also explore why DDIs are so difficult to detect and what the future holds for informatics-based approaches to DDI discovery.

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