Appraisal of: Golder S, Loke YK. Sources of information on adverse effects. Health Info Libr J 2010;27:176-190.

Short description: 
Research has shown that most systematic reviews of adverse effects rely solely on searches of MEDLINE, even though it is unlikely to be a comprehensive source on adverse effects information. The authors aimed to identify and summarize studies that had evaluated sources of information on adverse effects. No date or language restrictions were applied when searching for studies. The results indicated that Embase, Derwent Drug File, MEDLINE and industry submissions might be the sources of the largest number of relevant references for adverse effects information. In addition, they concluded that searching a wide range of sources might be a useful approach when conducting a thorough search.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
Studies included in the review were inconsistent in their use of outcome measures. They used different information sources which made direct comparisons difficult. Recent research information was lacking and many of the studies were more than 10 years old. Many potentially useful information sources were not covered in the studies identified (e.g. search engines and industry clinical trial registers). Most studies reported only the number of relevant references retrieved for comparison which is not a sufficient criterion. Also, the cost of searching different sources had not been assessed.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewer.
Study Type: 
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