We quantified the contribution to pharmacoepidemiologic research of studies conducted in automated health care databases over the last decade. We reviewed abstracts accepted at the International Conference of Pharmacoepidemiology in 2000 and 2011 to identify studies on drug safety, drug utilization, validation of database data, and disease epidemiology conducted in databases. We abstracted data on study objectives, database name and country, and number of databases used in each study. The total number of ICPE abstracts doubled from 389 in 2000 to 806 in 2011. Abstracts on database studies contributed 36 percent (139 of 389) of all abstracts in 2000 and 45 percent (360 of 806) in 2011. The most common study objective in both years was to evaluate drug safety. Abstracts on validation of database data increased from 2 to 39. Multiple-database abstracts increased from 9 to 43. The number of countries contributing to database abstracts increased from 14 to 22; the increase in countries was primarily in Europe and the Asian Pacific region. This study indicates that the use of health care databases in pharmacoepidemiologic research is growing in many countries. The different types of database studies and the number of studies conducted using multiple databases is also increasing, suggesting that larger study populations and greater collaboration among investigators are becoming more common.
August 2013 Open Access Peer Reviewed
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