Tool Helps Docs Track Down Drug Reactions

A graphical tool that tracks down the cause of drug-side-effects is the focus of a study published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics (April 2010).

A graphical tool that tracks down the cause of drug-side-effects is the focus of a study published in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics (April 2010).

The tool, known as RXplore, was created by Jon D. Duke, MD, and was designed to help physicians that treat patients taking multiple prescriptions identify which side effects are associated with which drug.

The common method of determining which drug may be responsible for certain side effects in a patient taking multiple prescriptions requires a number of steps, including reviewing published prescribing information for each drug individually.

The tool lets healthcare professionals retrieve data on the adverse reactions of specific drugs “simultaneously with an intuitive visual representation,” according to the University of Indiana School of Medicine’s website.

Study results found that physicians were able to retrieve accurate data 65 % faster using the tool than using traditional methods.

"Patients on complex drug regimens are doubly disadvantaged," said Dr. Duke, in a press release. "They are at increased risk for an adverse event, yet their physician may be less likely to perform a thorough review of their medications due to the lengthy time required."

The tool allows physicians to retrieve a visualization of the top 10 side effects of a specific drug, or request information on side effects associated with a certain specialty of medicine. The doctor can also look up a particular symptom and receive data on which drugs are associated with that symptom. All of the above activities each consume about one minute of time.