AI Could Warn About Drug Interaction Side Effects

The more medications a patient takes, the greater the likelihood that interactions between those drugs could trigger negative side effects, including long-term organ damage and even death. Now, researchers at Penn State have developed a machine learning system that may be able to warn doctors and patients about possible negative side effects that might occur when drugs are mixed. In a study, researchers designed an algorithm that analyzes data on drug-drug interactions listed in reports — compiled by the Food and Drug Administration and other organizations — for use in a possible alert system that would let patients know when a drug combination could prompt dangerous side effects. “Let's say I'm taking a popular over-the-counter pain reliever and then I'm put on blood pressure medicine, and these medications have an interaction with each other that, in turn, affects my liver,” said Soundar Kumara, the Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pearce Professor of Industrial Engineering, Penn State. “Essentially, what we have done, in this study, is to collect all of the data on all the diseases related to the liver and see what drugs interact with each other to affect the liver.”

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