Embase

Appraisal of: Coyle KB, Trochlil K, Iversen P. MEDLINE and EMBASE for health economic literature reviews [abstract]. Value Health 2012;15(4):A162.

Reviewer(s): 
Short description: 
The authors compared search results in MEDLINE and Embase for the indication chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD) with regard to cost of illness (COI), burden of illness (BOI) and cost benefit analysis (CBA). MEDLINE retrieved a higher number of references for CBA, while Embase retrieved higher results in the areas of COI and BOI. Conference abstracts accounted for the higher Embase totals. The inclusion of conference abstracts in Embase support the practice of conducting economic literature reviews in both MEDLINE and Embase.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
None stated - this is an abstract.
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
Since the results were published only in abstract form, very limited information was presented on methods, results and conclusions. Specific search strategies were not provided, nor was it stated if the citations retrieved were evaluated for relevance. Only one subject area (COPD) was searched for citations published during 2010-11, resulting in low retrieval results. Differences in retrieval may therefore not have statistical significance or be generalizable to other topic areas.
Study Type: 
Single study
Related Chapters: 

Appraisal of: Golder S, Loke YK. Failure or success of electronic search strategies to identify adverse effects data. J Med Libr Assoc 2012;100(2):130-134.

Short description: 
The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of adverse effects terms in the title, abstract, and / or indexing of adverse effects papers published from 2001 onwards and the implications of this on search strategy approaches. A cohort of 242 papers, indexed in MEDLINE, Embase and / or Science Citation Index (SCI), was identified to investigate this and compare the results with a similar study published in 2001 by Derry, Loke and Aronson. Of the 242 papers identified, 231 were indexed in MEDLINE, 222 were indexed in Embase and 238 were indexed in SCI. Searching with generic or specific named adverse effects terms in the title, abstract, or indexing identify 89% of the references indexed in Embase, 80% of the references indexed in Medline and 70% of the references indexed in SCI. Generic adverse effects terms in the title and abstract in any of the 3 databases, generic and specific indexing terms or adverse effects subheadings in Embase, and subheadings for adverse effects in Medline retrieved the highest proportion of references. Compared to previous research findings, adverse effects terms seemed to be increasingly prevalent in the title, abstract and indexing of adverse effects papers in both MEDLINE and Embase.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
No limitations stated by the study authors
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No limitations detected by the reviewer
Study Type: 
Single study
Related Chapters: 

Appraisal of: Golder S, Loke YK. Sensitivity and precision of adverse effects search filters in MEDLINE and EMBASE: a case study of fractures with thiazolidinediones. Health Info Libr J 2012;29(1):28-38.

Short description: 
A systematic review of fracture-related adverse effects associated with the use of thiazolidinediones was used as a case study to calculate the sensitivity, precision and Number Needed to Read (NNR) of published adverse effects search filters in MEDLINE and Embase. 12 MEDLINE filters and 3 Embase filters were tested. The results showed that 4 search filters in MEDLINE achieved high levels of sensitivity (95 or 100%) with improved levels of precision compared with searches without any adverse effects filters. The highest level of precision in MEDLINE (55%) was achieved with search filters that relied only on subject headings (MeSH). No search filter in Embase achieved sensitivity higher than 83% and precision remained low using any of the filters (all under 5%).
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
The main limitation to this study is that because only one systematic review was used as a case study, the generalisability of the study results is limited. In addition, this case study is of a particular named adverse effect (fractures), while a case study of a safety profile systematic review, in which all adverse effects are searched for, might have given different results. Another limitation is the adaptations made to some of the tested search filters. These filters were originally created for use in searches where the adverse effects are not known in advance of searching, while in this case study, these filters were used in addition to search terms for a named adverse effect (fracture terms).
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
In addition to the limitation noted above by the authors, it should be noted that the number of included studies on which the search filters were tested was relatively small (19 records in MEDLINE and 24 records in Embase). It should also be noted that the filters were tested as published. Testing of individual terms within the filters might have resulted in higher precision and better trade-off between sensitivity and precision than the full filters.
Study Type: 
Single study
Related Chapters: 

Comments from the authors:

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: 
Review
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 http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/4749/

Appraisal of: Golder S, Loke Y. The performance of adverse effects search filters in MEDLINE and EMBASE. Health Info Libr J 2012;29(2):141-151.

Short description: 
The aim of the study was to measure the sensitivity of published adverse effects search filters in MEDLINE and Embase. The performance of all the individual search terms included in the filters was also measured. The results showed that 93% of the MEDLINE records and 97% of the Embase records could be retrieved by using adverse effects search filters. High sensitivity could also be achieved by using individual adverse effects ‘floating’ subheadings such as Adverse Drug Reaction (83%) or Side Effect (83%) in Embase. In MEDLINE the highest sensitivity using individual adverse effects ‘floating’ subheadings was achieved by using Adverse Effects (51%). Some free text terms for adverse effects in the title and / or abstract were also found to be useful, but the authors recommend applying these terms only concurrently with other search terms such as subheadings. The sensitivity of the few existing indexing terms (MeSH and Emtree) for adverse effects was shown to be low.
Limitations stated by the author(s): 
The main limitation of this study was that the precision of search terms and search filters was not measured. The most sensitive search filters or search terms might be those with the lowest precision and might therefore result in very low precision (that is, the retrieval of very large numbers of irrelevant records). Further research that measures the precision of these search terms and filters is required in order to determine the full value and effectiveness of using adverse effects terms in search strategies. Caution should be applied when using the results of this study, especially as some of the search terms with relatively high sensitivity appear to have only a vague connection to adverse effects (such as ‘Therapeutic Use’ and ‘Pharmacology’).
Limitations stated by the reviewer(s): 
No additional limitations detected by the reviewer
Study Type: 
Single study
Related Chapters: 

Comments from the authors:

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