Adverse events are a common and for the most part unavoidable consequence of therapeutic intervention. Nevertheless, available tomes of such data now provide us with an invaluable opportunity to study the relationship between human phenotype and drug-induced protein perturbations within a patient system. Deciphering the molecular basis of such adverse responses is not only paramount to the development of safer drugs but also presents a unique opportunity to dissect disease systems in search of novel response biomarkers, drug targets, and efficacious combination therapies. Inspired by the potential applications of this approach, we first examined adverse event circumstances reported in FAERS and then performed a molecular level interrogation of cancer patient adverse events to investigate the prevalence of drug-drug interactions in the context of patient responses. We discuss avoidable and/or preventable cases and how molecular analytics can help optimize therapeutic use of co-medications. While up to one out of three adverse events in this dataset might be explicable by iatrogenic, patient, and product/device related factors, almost half of the patients in FAERS received multiple drugs and one in four may have experienced effects attributable to drug interactions.
Keywords: adverse events; drug-drug interactions; health informatics; molecular mechanism based safety assessment; outcome analytics; public health; real world data.