Similarity index for sound-alikeness of drug names with pitch accents

Tomoyuki Nagata, Masaomi Kimura, Fumito Tsuchiya

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Drug name similarity is one of major reasons of medical accidents. In order to prevent from the accidents, one of the best ways is to avoid approving drugs that has the names similar to that of existing drugs. It is well-known that there are two kinds of drug name similarity, look-alikeness and sound-alikeness. Nabeta et. al. proposed a look-alikeness similarity index,which excludes the sound-alikeness. Though, in Japan, oral prescription is basically prohibited, emergent situation can force a doctor to prescribe orally. In such a situation, medical accidents can occur. In this study, we proposed a sound-alikeness similarity index based on quantitative similarity of consonants. The consonant similarity was proposed based on The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). Overall drug name similarity is calculated based on Letter Sequence Kernel (LSK). The similarity calculation method takes account of the effect of plural pitch accents. We divided a drug name into some pieces at the position where a pitch accent changes, applied LSK to each of them, and combined them to obtain the value of the similarity index. The similarity index proposed in this study achieved relatively high correlation to the results of our experiment, r ≈ 0.8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519-1528
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Computer Science
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventInternational Conference on Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Information and Engineering Systems, KES 2014 - Gdynia, Poland
Duration: 2014 Sept 152014 Sept 17


  • Drug names
  • Medical Safety
  • Similarity Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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