Artificial Intelligence tool could reduce common drug side effects

Published by  News archive

On 20th Sep 2022

A healthcare professional gives medicine to a patient.
Getty images

AI could help clinicians assess which patients are likely to encounter the harmful side effects of some commonly used antidepressants, antihistamines and bladder medicines - according to new research involving the University of East Anglia.


Research led by the University of Exeter and Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, published in Age and Ageing, assessed a new tool designed to calculate which medicines are more likely to experience adverse anticholinergic effects on the body and brain.

These complications can occur from many -prescription and over-the-counter drugs which affects the brain by blocking a key neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

Many medicines, including some bladder medications, anti-depressants, medications for stomach and Parkinson’s disease have some degree of anticholinergic effect. They are commonly taken by older people.

Anticholinergic side effects include confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, falls and a decline in brain function. Anticholinergic effects may also increase risks of falls and may be associated with an increase in mortality. They have also been linked to a higher risk of dementia when used long term.

Now, researchers have developed a tool to calculate harmful effects of medicines  using artificial intelligence.

The team created a new online tool, International Anticholinergic Cognitive Burden Tool (IACT), is uses natural language processing which is an artificial intelligence methdolody and chemical structure analysis to identify medications that have anticholinergic effect.

The tool is the first to incorporate a machine learning technique, to develop an automatically updated tool available on a website portal.

The anticholinergic burden is assessed by assigning a score based on reported adverse events and aligning closely with the chemical structure of the drug being considered for prescription, resulting in a more accurate and up-to-date scoring system than any previous system.

Ultimately, after further research and modelling with real world patient data the tool developed could help to support prescribing reducing risks form common medicines.

Prof Chris Fox, at the University of Exeter, is one of the study authors. He said:“Use of medicines with anticholinergic effects can have significant harmful effects for example falls and confusion which are avoidable,  we urgently need to reduce the harmful side effects as this can leads to hospitalisation and death.

"This new tool provides a promising avenue towards a more tailored personalised medicine approach, of ensuring the right person gets a safe and effective treatment whilst avoiding unwanted  anticholinergic effects.”

The team surveyed 110 health professionals, including pharmacists and prescribing nurses.  Of this group, 85 per cent said they would use a tool to assess risk of anticholinergic side effects, if available. The team also gathered usability feedback to help improve the tool further.

Dr Saber Sami, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: “Our tool is the first to use innovative artificial intelligence technology in measures of anticholinergic burden – ultimately, once further research has been conducted the tool should support pharmacists and prescribing health professionals in finding the best treatment for patients.”

Prof Ian Maidment, from Aston University, said: “I have been working in this area for over 20 years. Anti-cholinergic side-effects can be very debilitating for patients. We need better ways to assess these side-effects.”
 
The research team includes collaboration with AKFA University Medical School, Uzbekistan, and the Universities of East Anglia, Aston, Kent and Aberdeen. They aim to continue development of the tool with the aim that it can be deployed in day-to-day practice which this study supports.

The paper is entitled ‘A novel Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tool to assess cholinergic burden: a survey’.

Latest News

 
Night-time traffic in the UK.
29 Sep 2022

Slowing city traffic cut road deaths by a quarter, study shows

Restricting a city’s speed limit to 20mph reduced road deaths by almost a quarter and serious injuries by a third, according to new research involving UEA.

Read more >
 
An indigenous man stands in front of a camera.
29 Sep 2022

Report calls for Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge to be included in climate policy

A new report highlights how recognising Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ knowledge systems could do more to address climate change.

Read more >
 
A Japanese flame pot.
29 Sep 2022

‘Circles of Stone’ links astonishing prehistoric parallels of Japan and Britain

Read more >
 
An Ethiopian drought.
28 Sep 2022

Rising global temperatures point to widespread drought

Worsening droughts caused by rising global temperatures pose significant risks around the world – according to new research from UEA. 

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
 
An Ethiopian drought.
28 Sep 2022

Rising global temperatures point to widespread drought

Worsening droughts caused by rising global temperatures pose significant risks around the world – according to new research from UEA. 

Read more >
 
Microscope view of the monkeypox virus.
23 Sep 2022

Monkeypox outbreak highlights need for One Health approach to prevent future zoonotic diseases

The outbreak of monkeypox is a warning for the adoption of a preventative, One Health, approach, accoding to research from UEA.

Read more >
 
A medical professional helps a young girl in an MRI scanner.
22 Sep 2022

The super-fast MRI scan that could revolutionise heart failure diagnosis

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed cutting-edge technology to diagnose patients with heart failure in record time.

Read more >
 
A man in a consultation with a medical professional.
22 Sep 2022

UEA breakthrough reveals how prostate cancer may begin

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important discovery about how prostate cancer may start to develop.

Read more >
 
Ist REF
01 Aug 2022

Thanks from the School of International Development

The School of International Development are delighted to be recently ranked first for overall research quality, impact, environment and outputs in development...

Read more >
 
23 Sep 2022

UEA teacher education partnership celebrates good Ofsted outcome

The University of East Anglia (UEA) Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnership has received a ‘good’ rating across the board, following an Ofsted inspection of...

Read more >