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Sci Transl Med. 2019 Mar 13;11(483). pii: eaau6753. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau6753.

"Inactive" ingredients in oral medications.

Reker D1,2,3, Blum SM1,4,5, Steiger C1,2,3, Anger KE4, Sommer JM6, Fanikos J6, Traverso G7,2,3,4,8.

Author information

1
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
2
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
3
MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
4
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
5
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
6
Investigational Drug Service, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
7
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. ctraverso@bwh.harvard.edu cgt20@mit.edu.
8
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Abstract

Oral forms of medications contain "inactive" ingredients to enhance their physical properties. Using data analytics, we characterized the abundance and complexity of inactive ingredients in approved medications. A majority of medications contain ingredients that could cause adverse reactions, underscoring the need to maximize the tolerability and safety of medications and their inactive ingredients.

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