Drug testing is done by clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. Side effects during such trials and post-approval reporting systems are critical. A major challenge during clinical trials is persuading patients to diligently report any adverse events when they're on a new medication.
Researchers at Carlos III Universidad de Madrid (UC3M) are now using social media as a self-reporting tool that can help spot previously unnoticed drug side effects.
Based on MeaningCloud, a product of Daedalus (Madrid, Spain), users drop comments in social media venues using a tool. It reads through the comments from the natural text and distils some basic pieces of information, which is then fed into the TrendMiner software package.
The software can help find correlations within the data can also be cross-referenced against electronic medical records. Identifying side effects, drug incompatibilities, and other problems that can help refine how the drugs are prescribed is made easier.