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Table 4 Comparison of search sensitivities in three case studies

From: Identifying systematic reviews of the adverse effects of health care interventions

Search Terms Sensitivity in DARE in this case study (GS = 256) Sensitivity in CDSR in this case study (GS = 14) Sensitivity in MEDLINE in Badgett et al's study [2] (QGS = 323) Sensitivity in MEDLINE in Golder et al's study [4] (QGS = 67) Sensitivity in EMBASE in Golder et al's study [4] (QGS = 72)
'adverse effects' (floating subheading) 77% 64% 86% 79% 79%[1]
'complications' (floating subheading) 14% 0% 12% 6% 5%[1]
'poisoning' (floating subheading) 0.4% 0% 10% 0% n/a
'chemically induced' (floating subheading) 33% 29% Not tested 28% n/a
'toxicity' (floating subheading) 1% 0% Not tested 0% 3%[1]
'drug effects' (floating subheading) 16% 29% Not tested 33% n/a
'adverse effects' OR 'complications' OR 'poisoning' (floating subheadings) 79% 57% 95% 82% 81%
'adverse effects OR 'complications' OR 'poisoning' OR 'drug effects' OR 'toxicity' OR 'chemically induced' (floating subheadings) 85% 64% Not tested 88% 81%[1]
'adverse effects' OR 'drug effects' OR 'complications' OR 'poisoning' OR 'toxicity' OR 'chemically induced' (all floating subheadings) OR exp DRUG HYPERSENSITIVITY OR exp DRUG TOXICITY OR exp PRODUCT SURVEILLANCE, POSTMARKETING 85% 64% Not tested 88% 81%[1]
exp DRUG HYPERSENSITIVITY OR exp DRUG TOXICITY OR exp PRODUCT SURVEILLANCE, POSTMARKETING 4% 0% Not tested 10% 7%
text word 'adverse' in the title or abstract 16%[2] 29%[2] 10% 54% 50%
synonyms of 'adverse effects' in the title 52% 7% Not tested 18% 19%
synonyms of 'adverse effects' in the abstract 45%[2] 36%[2] Not tested 87% 89%
synonyms of 'adverse effects' in the title Or abstract 63%[2] 36%[2] Not tested 75% 75%
  1. [1] the subheadings 'adverse drug reaction', drug toxicity' and ' complication' were used in EMBASE as nearest equivalent to 'adverse effects', 'toxicity' and 'complications'. [2] searches in DARE and CDSR were limited to sections of the structured abstracts.