Dangerous drug interactions uncovered with data science
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and the Data Science Institute at Columbia University have uncovered a potentially dangerous drug interaction using data science. Their findings were published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Safe when taken on their own, some prescription drugs become deadly when combined. Many of these interactions are well known, but others remain hidden to doctors, drug companies, and patients. Identifying these risky combinations has become a priority as the number of Americans on multiple medications rises.
Leveraging the power of big data, the researchers found a way to expand and improve the search for drug interactions. Mining a government database of reported drug side effects and a university hospital archive of patient records, they discovered eight pairs of drugs that are associated with a higher risk of a potentially deadly heart condition. Testing one of the pairs on individual heart cells in the lab, they discovered why the drug combination may disrupt the heart's normal electrical activity in some patients.
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