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  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    Research studies on the side effects of commonly prescribed drugs constituted the three most read papers published by the BMJ in 2005, according to an internal audit that assessed their use by readers.

    Studies that showed increased risk of myocardial infarction in patients taking cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX 2) inhibitors and that explored the link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and suicide came top. For the audit Sara Schroter, the BMJ's senior researcher, analysed research papers using three measures: the number of citations a paper received, the number of times it was accessed on the web, and the number of rapid responses it generated.

    The top scoring paper was a case-control study that showed greater risk of myocardial infarction in patients taking the COX 2 inhibitor rofecoxib (Vioxx) and in patients taking diclofenac …

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