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Open AccessArticle

How Often Do Comparative Randomised Controlled Trials in the Field of Eczema Fail to Directly Compare the Treatments Being Tested?

Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, King's Meadow Campus, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RN, UK
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Academic Editor: Jane Grant-Kels
J. Clin. Med. 2015, 4(6), 1312-1324; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm4061312
Received: 24 February 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 17 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology and Treatment of Atopic Eczema)
The objective of the study was to identify all parallel design randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing treatments for eczema in recent dermatology literature that have failed to report a between-group analysis. The GREAT database (www.greatdatabase.org.uk) was searched to identify parallel group RCTs comparing two or more interventions published in the English language in the last decade, 2004 to 2013. The primary outcome was the number of studies that had not reported a between-group analysis for any of the outcomes. Where possible we re-analysed the data to determine whether a between-group analysis would have given a different conclusion to that reported. Out of a total of 304 RCTs in the study period, 173 (56.9%) met the inclusion criteria. Of the 173 eligible studies, 12 (6.9%) had not conducted a between-group analysis for any of the reported outcomes. There was no clear improvement over time. Five of the eight studies that were re-analysed yielded non-significant between-group differences yet reported significant within-group comparisons. All but one of the 12 studies implied that the experimental intervention was successful despite not undertaking any between-group comparisons. Although the proportion of all RCTs that fail to report an appropriate between-group analysis is small, the fact that any scientist who purports to compare one treatment against another then chooses to omit the key comparison statistic is worrying. View Full-Text
Keywords: atopic eczema; randomised controlled trials; between-group analysis; parallel design atopic eczema; randomised controlled trials; between-group analysis; parallel design
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Ratib, S.; Wilkes, S.R.; Nankervis, H.; Thomas, K.S.; Williams, H.C. How Often Do Comparative Randomised Controlled Trials in the Field of Eczema Fail to Directly Compare the Treatments Being Tested? J. Clin. Med. 2015, 4, 1312-1324.

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