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Arthritis Rheum. 2002 Mar;46(3):779-84.

Secular changes in the quality of published randomized clinical trials in rheumatology.

Author information

1
Boston University Arthritis Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Catherine.Hill@nwahs.sa.gov.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the quality of published randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in rheumatology and to determine whether there has been improvement in quality between 2 time periods, 1987-1988 and 1997-1998.

METHODS:

Using MEDLINE and a hand search of selected rheumatology journals, we identified RCTs of adult rheumatic diseases published in English in 1987-1988 or 1997-1998. We examined trial quality with an expanded version of the Jadad scale, which assesses the adequacy of reported random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding, and analysis. All trials were read by 1 reviewer, with prior standardization using a random sample read by 2 reviewers. We also evaluated "high"- versus "low"-impact journals based on citation index.

RESULTS:

Two hundred forty RCTs (1987-1988 119 RCTs, 1997-1998 121 RCTs) were assessed. Results showed improvement in the quality of the trials, but the rates of reported random sequence generation, allocation concealment, power, and intent-to-treat analyses were persistently low. Low rates of reports of random sequence generation, allocation concealment, and intent-to-treat analyses were present even in the high-impact journals.

CONCLUSION:

There has been improvement in the quality of reporting of RCTs in rheumatology between 1987-1988 and 1997-1998. However, methodologic problems such as lack of allocation concealment, inadequate random sequence generation, lack of reporting of power, and lack of intent-to-treat analyses remain common. Many of these problems are established sources of bias in RCTs and are easily rectifiable.

PMID:
11920415
DOI:
10.1002/art.512
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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