Language-agnostic pharmacovigilant text mining to elicit side effects from clinical notes and hospital medication records

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We sought to craft a drug safety signalling pipeline associating latent information in clinical free text with exposures to single drugs and drug pairs. Data arose from 12 secondary and tertiary public hospitals in two Danish regions, comprising approximately half the Danish population. Notes were operationalised with a fastText embedding, based on which we trained 10,720 neural-network models (one for each distinct single-drug/drug-pair exposure) predicting the risk of exposure given an embedding vector. We included 2,905,251 admissions between May 2008 and June 2016, with 13,740,564 distinct drug prescriptions; the median number of prescriptions was 5 (IQR: 3-9) and in 1,184,340 (41%) admissions patients used ≥5 drugs concomitantly. 10,788,259 clinical notes were included, with 179,441,739 tokens retained after pruning. Of 345 single-drug signals reviewed, 28 (8.1%) represented possibly undescribed relationships; 186 (54%) signals were clinically meaningful. 16 (14%) of the 115 drug-pair signals were possible interactions and 2 (1.7%) were known. In conclusion, we built a language-agnostic pipeline for mining associations between free-text information and medication exposure without manual curation, predicting not the likely outcome of a range of exposures, but the likely exposures for outcomes of interest. Our approach may help overcome limitations of text mining methods relying on curated data in English and can help leverage non-English free text for pharmacovigilance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasic & clinical pharmacology & toxicology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)282-293
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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