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Table 3 Highly sensitive search strategy for identifying off-label drug use reports in OvidSP EMBASE: sensitivity- and precision-maximizing version

From: Search strategies to identify reports on “off-label” drug use in EMBASE

  Search query Cumulative number of relevant records retrieved Cumulative number of records retrieved Cumulative sensitivity/full set (%) Cumulative sensitivity/EMBASE set (%) Cumulative Precision (%)
1 off label*.af. 3150 3577 77.45 81.90 88.06
2 (unlicensed not (unlicensed aide* or unlicensed assist* or unlicensed car* or (Unlicensed adj2 heal*)or unlicensed home* or (killer adj2 cell*) or (unlicensed adj2 individual*) or (unlicensed adj2 nurs*) or (unlicensed adj4 practi*) or (unlicensed adj2 physician*) or (unlicensed adj2 operat*) or (unlicensed adj2 person*) or unlicensed profession* or unlicensed rid* or (unlicensed adj3 staff*) or unlicensed therapist* or (unlicensed adj5 vaccine*) or unlicensed vendor* or (unlicensed adj2 work*) or (unlicensed adj2 employe*) or device*or dentist*or driver or driving or herbal or medical graduate* or motor* or pesticide*or premis*or prostitute*or restaurant*or veterinary or worker*)).af., 3272 3858 80.45 85.08 84.81
3 (unapprove* adj2 us*).af. 3331 3947 81.90 86.61 84.39
4 (unapprove* adj5 indication*).af. 3367 3986 82.79 87.55 84.47
5 off li?en?e.af. 3425 4053 84.21 89.05 84.51
6 ((no* licen?ed for adj3 use*) not now licen?ed).af. 3476 4136 85.47 90.38 84.04
7 (unapprove* adj2 drug*).af. 3493 4181 85.89 90.82 83.54
8 (outside adj3 licen?e*).af. 3511 4211 86.33 91.29 83.38
9 unlabel* us*.af. 3538 4241 86.99 91.99 83.42
10 labeled indication*.af. 3549 4270 87.26 92.28 83.11
11 nonapprove*.af. 3569 4317 87.76 92.80 82.67
12 registered indication*.af. 3585 4348 88.15 93.21 82.45
13 offlabel*.af. 3590 4353 88.27 93.34 82.47
14 (unlabel* adj3 indication*).af. 3598 4361 88.47 93.55 82.50
15 non fda approve*.af. 3611 4388 88.79 93.89 82.29
16 ((no* licen?ed for adj3 indication*) not now licen?ed).af. 3624 4402 89.11 94.23 82.33
17 (appropriate indication adj3 us*).af. 3630 4413 89.25 94.38 82.26
18 (be???d* adj2 licen?ed indication*).af. 3633 4417 89.33 94.46 82.25
19 (us* without adj2 indication*).af. 3638 4428 89.45 94.59 82.16
20 (prescri* outside adj4 guideline*).af. 3643 4434 89.57 94.72 82.16
21 (inappropriate adj5 indication adj2 us*).af. 3647 4441 89.67 94.83 82.12
22 (non evidence base* us*).af. 3650 4446 89.75 94.90 82.10
23 (or/1-22) not (stent* or veterinar*).af. 3635 4158 89.38 94.51 87.42
  1. Combinations of search queries with the best optimization of sensitivity and precision are ranked in descending order of number of relevant records. See further search strategies in Additional file 2.