Text mining for adverse drug events: the promise, challenges, and state of the art

Drug Saf. 2014 Oct;37(10):777-90. doi: 10.1007/s40264-014-0218-z.


Text mining is the computational process of extracting meaningful information from large amounts of unstructured text. It is emerging as a tool to leverage underutilized data sources that can improve pharmacovigilance, including the objective of adverse drug event (ADE) detection and assessment. This article provides an overview of recent advances in pharmacovigilance driven by the application of text mining, and discusses several data sources-such as biomedical literature, clinical narratives, product labeling, social media, and Web search logs-that are amenable to text mining for pharmacovigilance. Given the state of the art, it appears text mining can be applied to extract useful ADE-related information from multiple textual sources. Nonetheless, further research is required to address remaining technical challenges associated with the text mining methodologies, and to conclusively determine the relative contribution of each textual source to improving pharmacovigilance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection*
  • Data Mining / methods*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Labeling
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Pharmacovigilance*
  • Social Media