Navigation Links
Computer scientist sorts out confusable drug names

Was that Xanex or Xanax? Or maybe Zantac? If you're a health care professional you'd better know the difference--mistakes can be fatal.

An estimated 1.3 million people in the United States alone are injured each year from medication errors, and the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has been working to reduce the possibilities of these errors, such as a documented case in which a patient needed an injection of Narcan but received Norcuron and went into cardiac arrest.

A few years ago, the FDA turned to Project Performance Corporation (PPC), a U.S. software company, to ensure they don't approve the names of new drugs that may easily be confused with any one of the more than 4,400 drugs that have already been approved.

PPC looked at the problem and then, based on a tip from a professor at the University of Maryland, turned to Dr. Greg Kondrak, a professor in the University of Alberta Department of Computing Science.

"During my PhD research, I wrote a program called ALINE for identifying similar-sounding words in the world's languages. The program incorporates techniques developed in linguistics and bioinformatics," Kondrak said. "At the time some people criticized it because they felt it wouldn't ever have a practical application."

PPC analyzed Kondrak's program and felt it might help with their project. Kondrak gave them ALINE and then created a new program for them, BI SIM, which analyzes and compares the spelling of words.

PPC combined Kondrak's programs into a system that the FDA has been using for the past two years to analyze proposed drug names and rank them in terms of confusability, both phonetically and orthographically, with existing drugs.

"The FDA used to have dozens of people scouring the lists of names to check if the proposed ones were too similar to any of them, and this wasn't a good use of resources, and it wasn't always effective--people make mistakes," Kondrak said. "But now one perso n using PPC's system can identify sound-alike and look-alike drug names with great accuracy in a matter of seconds," he added. Drug companies covet finding good, short drug names that are easy to remember, Kondrak noted, adding, "the FDA and other drug agencies need to balance this against confusing the names with existing ones--it's a serious problem."

Kondrak co-authored a paper on this topic that was recently published in the journal Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. Earlier, he gave a presentation to Health Canada officials, who are interested in following the FDA's lead in addressing the problem of confusing drug names.

A number of linguists and computer scientists are also now using Kondrak's ALINE for various purposes, and he is pleased his software, once criticized as being useless, is much in demand, though he does not charge anyone to use it.

"If anyone asks for it, I just give it to them," Kondrak said. "I was a funded researcher, and I look at it as my responsibility to share what I've learned and what I've done."

"When you do basic research sometimes you don't know how it might become of use, but if this software helps to reduce even just 10 per cent of prescription errors in the U.S. that translates into helping a lot of people, and it's very satisfying to contribute to that."


'"/>

Source:University of Alberta


Related biology news :

1. Computers to be used to find blueprint for new influenza drug
2. Large-scale Computer Simulations Reveal New Insights Into Antibiotic Resistance
3. Computers close in on protein structure prediction
4. Computer modeling reveals hidden conversations within cells
5. Computer models aid understanding of antibody-dependent enhancement in spread of dengue fever
6. Computer-chemistry yields new insight into a puzzle of cell division
7. Computers to save unique type of American red squirrel
8. Computer simulation hints at new HIV drug target
9. Computer-based games enhance mental function in patients with Alzheimers
10. Computer scientists unravel language of surgery
11. Computer with brain connections changing quality of life of paralyzed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, Utah ... Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume laboratory ... and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing ... announced the launch of a project to establish the ... panel. NSO has been contracted by ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... 18, 2016 --> ... ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance ... in the border security market and the continuing migration crisis ... Europe has led visiongain to publish this ... --> defence & security companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... Transparency Market Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology ... Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation ... US$ 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and is projected ... 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 The report ... Brayton Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, Product Repairs & Refurbishment, ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global ... by 2022, at a CAGR of 7.29% between 2016 ... Tables and 94 Figures spread through 159 Pages and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... Group, Inc., will hold an open house for regional manufacturers at its Maple ... displays from Tsugami, Okuma, Hardinge Group, Chiron and Trumpf. Almost 20 leading ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... (CSE: NSK) (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt ... an ihre Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 die ... ihre Finanzen um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf 400.000.000 ... Dollar zu bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten mit ...
Breaking Biology Technology: