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  • 标题:The pathway to RCTs: how many roads are there? Examining the homogeneity of RCT justification
  • 本地全文:下载
  • 作者:Jeffrey Tin Yu Chow ; Kevin Lam ; Abdul Naeem
  • 期刊名称:Trials
  • 印刷版ISSN:1745-6215
  • 电子版ISSN:1745-6215
  • 出版年度:2017
  • 卷号:18
  • 期号:1
  • 页码:51
  • DOI:10.1186/s13063-017-1804-z
  • 语种:English
  • 出版社:BioMed Central
  • 摘要:Background Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) form the foundational background of modern medical practice. They are considered the highest quality of evidence, and their results help inform decisions concerning drug development and use, preventive therapies, and screening programs. However, the inputs that justify an RCT to be conducted have not been studied. Methods We reviewed the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases across six specialties (Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology (ENT), General Surgery, Psychiatry, Obstetrics-Gynecology (OB-GYN), and Internal Medicine) and randomly chose 25 RCTs from each specialty except for Otorhinolaryngology (20 studies) and Internal Medicine (28 studies). For each RCT, we recorded information relating to the justification for conducting RCTs such as average study size cited, number of studies cited, and types of studies cited. The justification varied widely both within and between specialties. Results For Ophthalmology and OB-GYN, the average study sizes cited were around 1100 patients, whereas they were around 500 patients for Psychiatry and General Surgery. Between specialties, the average number of studies cited ranged from around 4.5 for ENT to around 10 for Ophthalmology, but the standard deviations were large, indicating that there was even more discrepancy within each specialty. When standardizing by the sample size of the RCT, some of the discrepancies between and within specialties can be explained, but not all. On average, Ophthalmology papers cited review articles the most (2.96 studies per RCT) compared to less than 1.5 studies per RCT for all other specialties. Conclusions The justifications for RCTs vary widely both within and between specialties, and the justification for conducting RCTs is not standardized.
  • 关键词:Randomized controlled trials ; Clinical trials ; Methodology ; Justification ; Evidence-based
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