In Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics, Workshop on Healthcare Knowledge Discovery and Management (HKDM@ICHI 2017)
Drug-drug interactions (DDIs) are known to be responsible for nearly a third of all adverse drug reactions. Hence several current efforts focus on extracting signal from EMRs to prioritize DDIs that need further exploration. To this end, being able to extract explicit mentions of DDIs in free text narratives is an important task. In this paper, we explore recurrent neural network (RNN) architectures to detect and classify DDIs from unstructured text using the DDIExtraction dataset from the SemEval 2013 (task 9) shared task. Our methods are in line with those used in other recent deep learning efforts for relation extraction including DDI extraction. However, to our knowledge, we are the first to investigate the potential of character-level RNNs (Char-RNNs) for DDI extraction (and relation extraction in general). Furthermore, we explore a simple but effective model bootstrapping method to (a). build model averaging ensembles, (b). derive confidence intervals around mean micro-F scores (MMF), and (c). assess the average behavior of our methods. Without any rule based filtering of negative examples, a popular heuristic used by most earlier efforts, we achieve an MMF of 69.13. By adding simple replicable heuristics to filter negative instances we are able to achieve an MMF of 70.38. Furthermore, our best ensembles produce micro F-scores of 70.81 (without filtering) and 72.13 (with filtering), which are superior to metrics reported in published results. Although Char-RNNs turnout to be inferior to regular word based RNN models in overall comparisons, we find that ensembling models from both architectures results in nontrivial gains over simply using either alone, indicating that they complement each other.