Appraisal of: Golder S. Optimising the retrieval of information on adverse drug effects. Health Info Libr J. 2013 Dec;30(4):327-331.

Short description: 

The article reports on the author’s PhD study and summarises it to emphasise the implications for practice. The research questions were: 1) which study designs provide the best evidence on adverse effects? 2) which sources of information efficiently provide the most relevant data on adverse drug effects? and 3) which search strategies are the most effective in retrieving relevant data on adverse drug effects from database sources? The questions were answered by using a mixed-method approach.

The results show that searchers should not rely solely on MEDLINE but search multiple sources, as well as retrieve unpublished studies and industry funded data. Searches in MEDLINE and Embase may now include adverse effects terms or search filters, although searchers need to apply them with some caution. In systematic reviews, there is still room for improvement in reporting of search strategies for adverse effects and in reporting more reproducible search strategies.

Limitations stated by the author(s): 

No limitations stated by the author.

Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewers
Study Type: 
Single study

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