Discovering associations between adverse drug events using pattern structures and ontologies

Gabin Personeni*, Emmanuel Bresso, Marie-Dominique Devignes, Michel Dumontier, Malika Smail-Tabbone, Adrien Coulet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Patient data, such as electronic health records or adverse event reporting systems, constitute an essential resource for studying Adverse Drug Events (ADEs). We explore an original approach to identify frequently associated ADEs in subgroups of patients. Results: Because ADEs have complex manifestations, we use formal concept analysis and its pattern structures, a mathematical framework that allows generalization using domain knowledge formalized in medical ontologies. Results obtained with three different settings and two different datasets show that this approach is flexible and allows extraction of association rules at various levels of generalization. Conclusions: The chosen approach permits an expressive representation of a patient ADEs. Extracted association rules point to distinct ADEs that occur in a same group of patients, and could serve as a basis for a recommandation system. The proposed representation is flexible and can be extended to make use of additional ontologies and various patient records.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of biomedical semantics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2017


  • Adverse drug event
  • Association rules
  • Ontologies
  • Patient data
  • Pattern structures
  • Pharmacovigilance

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