Appraisal of: Golder S, Loke YK. The contribution of different information sources for adverse effects data. Int J Technol Assess Health Care 2012;28(2):133-137.

Short description: 

Research has shown that MEDLINE might not be a comprehensive source on adverse effects information. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of a variety of sources when searching for adverse effects data for a systematic review of thiazolidinedione-related fractures in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The results showed the potential value of searching a variety of sources for adverse effects data.

In this study, the minimum combination of sources required to identify all the relevant references was:

  • GlaxoSmithKline website,
  • Science Citation Index,
  • Embase,
  • BIOSIS Previews,
  • British Library Direct,
  • Medscape DrugInfo,
  • AHFS First (American Hospital Formulary Service),
  • Thomson Reuters Integrity,
  • Conference Papers Index,
  • Handsearching,
  • Reference checking.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
The results were based on a single case study and are, not necessarily generalisable. It was also difficult to maintain consistency in search strategies when adapting them to different search interfaces and it was, therefore, difficult to make fair comparisons. It was also not possible to perform a cost analysis of searching each source due to different pricing mechanisms used by the database providers.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewer.
Study Type: 
Single study
Related Chapters: 

Comments from the authors:

This publication is related to Su Golder’s PhD Thesis “Evaluating and Optimising the Retrieval of Research Evidence for Systematic Reviews of Adverse Drug Effects and Adverse Drug Reactions” from 2013. The thesis is available from