Faculty Advisor

Elke A. Rundensteiner




Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Clinical trials, which are extremely costly, human labor intensive and specific to controlled human subjects, are ineffective to uncover all ADRs related to a drug. There is thus a growing need of computing-supported methods facilitating the automated detection of drugs-related ADRs from large reports data sets; especially ADRs that left undiscovered during clinical trials but later arise due to drug-drug interactions or prolonged usage. For this purpose, big data sets available through drug-surveillance programs and social media provide a wealth of longevity information and thus a huge opportunity. In this research, we thus design a system using machine learning techniques to discover severe unknown ADRs triggered by a combination of drugs, also known as drug-drug-interaction. Our proposed Multi-drug Adverse Reaction Analytics System (MARAS) adopts and adapts an association rule mining-based methodology by incorporating contextual information to detect, highlight and visualize interesting drug combinations that are strongly associated with a set of ADRs. MARAS extracts non-spurious associations that are true representations of the combination of drugs taken and reported by patients. We demonstrate the utility of MARAS via case studies from the medical literature, and the usability of the MARAS system via a user study using real world medical data extracted from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS).


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Data Science

Project Type


Date Accepted



Restricted-WPI community only


Drug-drug interactions, rule mining, interestingness ranking