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:12/16/2016)... YORK , Dec. 16, 2016 The global wearable ... USD 12.14 billion by 2021 from USD 5.31 billion in 2016, ... ... is mainly driven by technological advancements in medical devices, launch of ... rising preference for wireless connectivity among healthcare providers, and increasing focus ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced ... to their offering. The report forecasts the global military ... 2016-2020. The report has been prepared based on an ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... "Increase in mobile transactions is driving the growth of ... expected to grow from USD 4.03 billion in 2015 ... of 29.3% between 2016 and 2022. The market is ... smart devices, government initiatives, and increasing penetration of e-commerce ... to grow at a high rate during the forecast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... and Liege, Belgium (PRWEB) , ... January 17, ... ... solutions for sample preparation and epigenetics research, recently announced a collaboration with the ... a high-sensitivity DNA amplification method for library preparation, following the company’s successful launch ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... --  Valentin A. Pavlov, PhD , associate investigator, and ... of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research ... nervous system regulates the immune system, which will help ... devices to treat disease and injury. The analysis is ... The paper examines various studies which further define the ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... , Jan. 13, 2017  The Alliance for Safe ... response to FDA final guidance on biologic ... continued leadership in emphasizing the importance of distinct naming ... aware of the benefits biosimilars will bring to patients, ... Yet the portion of the Guidance dealing with ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... FireflySci has been busy rolling out ... diverse customer base. The latest entry in this field is a series of ... Bio-Rad. FireflySci is introducing three distinct varieties including a 10x1mm, 10x2 and 10x4 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: