To examine the current ethical review process (ERP) of ethics committees in a non‐pharmacological trial from the perspective of a clinical investigator.
Prospective collection of data at the Study Centre of the German Surgical Society on the duration, costs and administrative effort of the ERP of a randomised controlled multicentre surgical INSECT Trial (INterrupted or continuous Slowly absorbable sutures—Evaluation of abdominal Closure Techniques Trial, ISRCTN 24023541) between November 2003 and May 2005.
18 ethics committees, including the ethics committee handling the primary approval, responsible overall for 32 clinical sites throughout Germany. 8 ethics committees were located at university medical schools (MSU) and 10 at medical chambers. Duration was measured as days between submission and receipt of final approval, costs in euros and administrative effort by calculation of the product of the total number of different types of documents and the mean number of copies required (primary approval acting as the reference standard).
The duration of the ERP ranged from 1 to 176 (median 31) days. The median duration was 26 days at MSUs compared with 34 days at medical chambers. The total cost was €2947. 1 of 8 ethics committees at universities (€250) and 8 of 10 at medical chambers charged a median fee of €162 (mean €269.70). The administrative effort for primary approval was 30. Four ethics committees required a higher administrative effort for secondary approval (37, 39, 42 and 104).
The ERP for non‐pharmacological multicentre trials in Germany needs improvement. The administrative process has to be standardised: the application forms and the number and content of the documents required should be identical or at least similar. The fees charged vary considerably and are obviously too high for committees located at medical chambers. However, the duration of the ERP was, with some exceptions, excellent. A centralised ethics committee in Germany for multicentre trials such as the INSECT Trial can simplify the ERP for clinical investigators in and outside the country.
There are two ways to open the abdominal cavity in elective general surgery: vertically or transversely. Various clinical studies and a meta-analysis have postulated that the transverse approach is superior to other approaches as regards complications. However, in a recent survey it was shown that 90 % of all abdominal incisions in visceral surgery are still vertical incisions. This discrepancy between existing recommendations of clinical trials and clinical practice could be explained by the lack of acceptance of these results due to a number of deficits in the study design and analysis, subsequent low internal validity, and therefore limited external generalisability. The objective of this study is to address the issue from the patient's perspective.
This is an intraoperatively randomized controlled observer and patient-blinded two-group parallel equivalence trial. The study setting is the Department of General-, Visceral-, Trauma Surgery and Outpatient Clinic of the University of Heidelberg, Medical School. A total of 172 patients of both genders, aged over 18 years who are scheduled for an elective abdominal operation and are eligible for either a transverse or vertical incision. To show equivalence of the two approaches or the superiority of one of them from the perspective of the patient, a primary endpoint is defined: the pain experienced by the patient (VAS 0–100) on day two after surgery and the amount of analgesic required (piritramide [mg/h]). A confidence interval approach will be used for analysis. A global α-Level of 0.05 and a power of 0.8 is guaranteed, resulting in a size of 86 patients for each group. Secondary endpoints are: time interval to open and close the abdomen, early-onset complications (frequency of burst abdomen, postoperative pulmonary complications, and wound infection) and late complications (frequency of incisional hernias). Different outcome variables will be ranked by patients and surgeons to assess the relevance of possible endpoints from the patients' and surgeons' perspective.
This is a randomized controlled observer and patient-blinded two-group parallel trial to answer the question if the transverse abdominal incision is equivalent to the vertical one due to the described endpoints.
Menstrual-related migraine is a common form of migraine affecting >50% of female migraineurs. Acupuncture may be a choice for menstrual-related migraine, when pharmacological prophylaxis is not suitable. However, the efficacy of acupuncture has not been confirmed. We design and perform a randomized controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture compared with naproxen in menstrual-related migraine patients.
This is a multicenter, single blind, randomized controlled clinical trial. A total of 184 participants will be randomly assigned to two different groups. Participants will receive verum acupuncture and placebo medicine in the treatment group, while participants in the control group will be treated with sham acupuncture and medicine (Naproxen Sustained Release Tablets). All treatments will be given for 3 months (menstrual cycles).
The primary outcome measures are the change of migraine days inside the menstrual cycle and the proportion of responders (defined as the proportion of patients with at least a 50% reduction in the number of menstrual migraine days). The secondary outcome measures are the change of migraine days outside the menstrual cycle, duration of migraine attack, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and intake of acute medication. The assessment will be made at baseline (before treatment), 3 months (menstrual cycles), and 4 months (menstrual cycles) after the first acupuncture session.
The results of this trial will be helpful to supply the efficacy of acupuncture for menstrual-related migraine prophylaxis.
The optimal strategy for abdominal wall closure has been an issue of ongoing debate. Available studies do not specifically enroll patients who undergo emergency laparotomy and thus do not consider the distinct biological characteristics of these patients. The present randomized controlled trial evaluates the efficacy and safety of two commonly applied abdominal wall closure strategies in patients undergoing primary emergency midline laparotomy.
The CONTINT trial is a multicenter, open label, randomized controlled trial with a two-group parallel design. Patients undergoing a primary emergency midline laparotomy are enrolled in the trial. The two most commonly applied strategies of abdominal wall closure after midline laparotomy are compared: the continuous, all-layer suture technique using slowly absorbable monofilament material (two Monoplus® loops) and the interrupted suture technique using rapidly absorbable braided material (Vicryl® sutures). The primary endpoint within the CONTINT trial is an incisional hernia within 12 months or a burst abdomen within 30 days after surgery. As reliable data on this primary endpoint is not available for patients undergoing emergency surgery, an adaptive interim analysis will be conducted after the inclusion of 80 patients, allowing early termination of the trial if necessary or modification of design characteristics such as recalculation of sample size.
This is a randomized controlled multicenter trial with a two-group parallel design to assess the efficacy and safety of two commonly applied abdominal wall closure strategies in patients undergoing primary emergency midline laparotomy.
Hepatic resection is still associated with significant morbidity. Although the period of parenchymal transection presents a crucial step during the operation, uncertainty persists regarding the optimal technique of transection. It was the aim of the present randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of hepatic resection using the technique of stapler hepatectomy compared to the simple clamp-crushing technique.
The CRUNSH Trial is a prospective randomized controlled single-center trial with a two-group parallel design. Patients scheduled for elective hepatic resection without extrahepatic resection at the Department of General-, Visceral- and Transplantation Surgery, University of Heidelberg are enrolled into the trial and randomized intraoperatively to hepatic resection by the clamp-crushing technique and stapler hepatectomy, respectively. The primary endpoint is total intraoperative blood loss. A set of general and surgical variables are documented as secondary endpoints. Patients and outcome-assessors are blinded for the treatment intervention.
The CRUNSH Trial is the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate efficacy and safety of stapler hepatectomy compared to the clamp-crushing technique for parenchymal transection during elective hepatic resection.
Incisional hernia is the most frequently seen long term complication after laparotomy causing much morbidity and even mortality. The overall incidence remains 11-20%, despite studies attempting to optimize closing techniques. Two patient groups, patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm and obese patients, have a risk for incisional hernia after laparotomy of more than 30%. These patients might benefit from mesh augmented midline closure as a means to reduce incisional hernia incidence.
The PRImary Mesh Closure of Abdominal Midline Wound (PRIMA) trial is a double-blinded international multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing running slowly absorbable suture closure with the same closure augmented with a sublay or onlay mesh. Primary endpoint will be incisional hernia incidence 2 years postoperatively. Secondary outcomes will be postoperative complications, pain, quality of life and cost effectiveness.
A total of 460 patients will be included in three arms of the study and randomized between running suture closure, onlay mesh closure or sublay mesh closure. Follow-up will be at 1, 3, 12 and 24 months with ultrasound imaging performed at 6 and 24 months to objectify the presence of incisional hernia. Patients, investigators and radiologists will be blinded throughout the whole follow up.
The use of prosthetic mesh has proven effective and safe in incisional hernia surgery however its use in a prophylactic manner has yet to be properly investigated. The PRIMA trial will provide level 1b evidence whether mesh augmented midline abdominal closure reduces incisional hernia incidence in high risk groups.
Clinical trial.gov NCT00761475.
Concomitant treatment in addition to intervention may influence the primary outcome, especially in complex interventions such as surgical trials. Evidence-based standards for perioperative care after distal pancreatectomy, however, have been rarely defined. This study's objective was therefore to identify and analyse the current basis of evidence for perioperative management in distal pancreatectomy.
A standardised questionnaire was sent to 23 European centres recruiting patients for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) on open distal pancreatectomy that would compare suture versus stapler closure of the pancreatic remnant (DISPACT trial, ISRCTN 18452029). Perioperative strategies (e.g., bowel preparation, pain management, administration of antibiotics, abdominal incision, drainages, nasogastric tubes, somatostatin, mobilisation and feeding regimens) were assessed. Moreover, a systematic literature search in the Medline database was performed and retrieved meta-analyses and RCTs were reviewed.
All 23 centres returned the questionnaire. Consensus for thoracic epidural catheters (TECs), pain treatment and transverse incisions was found, as well as strong consensus for the placement of intra-abdominal drainages and perioperative single-shot antibiotics. Also, there was consensus that bowel preparation, somatostatin application, postoperative nasogastric tubes and intravenous feeding might not be beneficial. The literature search identified 16 meta-analyses and 19 RCTs demonstrating that bowel preparation, somatostatin therapy and nasogastric tubes can be omitted. Early mobilisation, feeding and TECs seem to be beneficial for patients. The value of drainages remains unclear.
Most perioperative standards within the centres participating in the DISPACT trial are in accordance with current available evidence. The need for drainages requires further investigation.
Clinical trial registration: ISRCTN 18452029
After its introduction, laparoscopic cholecystectomy rapidly expanded around the world and was accepted the procedure of choice by consensus. However, analysis of evidence shows no difference regarding primary outcome measures between laparoscopic and small-incision cholecystectomy. In absence of clear clinical benefit it may be interesting to focus on the resource use associated with the available techniques, a secondary outcome measure. This study focuses on a difference in costs between laparoscopic and small-incision cholecystectomy from a societal perspective with emphasis on internal validity and generalisability
A blinded randomized single-centre trial was conducted in a general teaching hospital in The Netherlands. Patients with reasonable to good health diagnosed with symptomatic cholecystolithiasis scheduled for cholecystectomy were included. Patients were randomized between laparoscopic and small-incision cholecystectomy. Total costs were analyzed from a societal perspective.
Operative costs were higher in the laparoscopic group using reusable laparoscopic instruments (difference 203 euro; 95% confidence interval 147 to 259 euro). There were no significant differences in the other direct cost categories (outpatient clinic and admittance related costs), indirect costs, and total costs. More than 60% of costs in employed patients were caused by sick leave.
Based on differences in costs, small-incision cholecystectomy seems to be the preferred operative technique over the laparoscopic technique both from a hospital and societal cost perspective. Sick leave associated with convalescence after cholecystectomy in employed patients results in considerable costs to society.
ISRCTN Register, number ISRCTN67485658.
Controlled clinical trials of health care interventions are either explanatory or pragmatic. Explanatory trials test whether an intervention is efficacious; that is, whether it can have a beneficial effect in an ideal situation. Pragmatic trials measure effectiveness; they measure the degree of beneficial effect in real clinical practice. In pragmatic trials, a balance between external validity (generalizability of the results) and internal validity (reliability or accuracy of the results) needs to be achieved. The explanatory trial seeks to maximize the internal validity by assuring rigorous control of all variables other than the intervention. The pragmatic trial seeks to maximize external validity to ensure that the results can be generalized. However the danger of pragmatic trials is that internal validity may be overly compromised in the effort to ensure generalizability. We are conducting two pragmatic randomized controlled trials on interventions in the management of hypertension in primary care. We describe the design of the trials and the steps taken to deal with the competing demands of external and internal validity.
External validity is maximized by having few exclusion criteria and by allowing flexibility in the interpretation of the intervention and in management decisions. Internal validity is maximized by decreasing contamination bias through cluster randomization, and decreasing observer and assessment bias, in these non-blinded trials, through baseline data collection prior to randomization, automating the outcomes assessment with 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitors, and blinding the data analysis.
Clinical trials conducted in community practices present investigators with difficult methodological choices related to maintaining a balance between internal validity (reliability of the results) and external validity (generalizability). The attempt to achieve methodological purity can result in clinically meaningless results, while attempting to achieve full generalizability can result in invalid and unreliable results. Achieving a creative tension between the two is crucial.
Several randomized controlled trials have compared different suture materials and techniques for abdominal wall closure with respect to the incidence of incisional hernias after midline laparotomy and shown that it remains, irrespective of the methods used, considerably high, ranging from 9% to 20%. The development of improved suture materials which would reduce postoperative complications may help to lower its frequency.
This is a historically controlled, single-arm, multi-centre, prospective trial to evaluate the safety of MonoMax® suture material for abdominal wall closure in 150 patients with primary elective midline incisions. INSECT patients who underwent abdominal closure using Monoplus® and PDS® will serve as historical control group. The incidences of wound infections and of burst abdomen are defined as composite primary endpoints. Secondary endpoints are the frequency of incisional hernias within one year after operation and safety. To ensure adequate comparability in surgical performance and recruitment, the 4 largest centres of the INSECT-Trial will participate. After hospital discharge, the investigators will examine the enrolled patients again at 30 days and at 12 ± 1 months after surgery.
This historically controlled, single-arm, multi-centre, prospective ISSAAC trial aims to assess whether the use of an ultra-long-lasting absorbable monofilament suture material is safe and efficient.
Postoperative surgical site infections cause substantial morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, costs and even mortality and remain one of the most frequent surgical complications. Approximately 14% to 30% of all patients undergoing elective open abdominal surgery are affected and methods to reduce surgical site infection rates warrant further investigation and evaluation in randomized controlled trials.
To investigate whether the application of a circular plastic wound protector reduces the rate of surgical site infections in general and visceral surgical patients that undergo midline or transverse laparotomy by 50%. BaFO is a randomized, controlled, patient-blinded and observer-blinded multicenter clinical trial with two parallel surgical groups. The primary outcome measure will be the rate of surgical site infections within 45 days postoperative assessed according to the definition of the Center for Disease Control. Statistical analysis of the primary endpoint will be based on the intention-to-treat population. The global level of significance is set at 5% (2 sided) and sample size (n = 258 per group) is determined to assure a power of 80% with a planned interim analysis for the primary endpoint after the inclusion of 340 patients.
The BaFO trial will explore if the rate of surgical site infections can be reduced by a single, simple, inexpensive intervention in patients undergoing open elective abdominal surgery. Its pragmatic design guarantees high external validity and clinical relevance.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT01181206. Date of registration: 11 August 2010; date of first patient randomized: 8 September 2010
Abdominal dressing; Abdominal surgery; Randomized trial; Surgical site infection; Wound edge protector; Wound infection
Incisional hernia is a frequent complication in abdominal surgery. This article describes the development of a prospective randomized clinical trial designed to determine whether watchful waiting is an acceptable alternative to surgical repair for patients with oligosymptomatic incisional hernia.
This clinical multicenter trial has been designed to compare watchful waiting and surgical repair for patients with oligosymptomatic incisional hernia. Participants are randomized to watchful waiting or surgery and followed up for two years. The primary efficacy endpoint is pain/discomfort during normal activities as a result of the hernia or hernia repair two years after enrolment, as measured by the hernia-specific Surgical Pain Scales (SPS). The target sample size of six hundred thirty-six patients was calculated to detect non-inferiority of the experimental intervention (watchful waiting) in the primary endpoint. Sixteen surgical centers will take part in the study and have submitted their declaration of commitment giving the estimated number of participating patients per year. A three-person data safety monitoring board will meet annually to monitor and supervise the trial.
To date, we could find no published data on the natural course of incisional hernias. To our knowledge, watchful waiting has never been compared to standard surgical repair as a treatment option for incisional hernias. A trial to compare the outcome of the two approaches in patients with oligosymptomatic incisional hernias is urgently needed to provide data that can facilitate the choice between treatment options. If watchful waiting was equal to surgical repair, the high costs of surgical repair could be saved. The design for such a trial is described here.
This multicenter trial will be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The ethics committee of the Charité has approved the study protocol. Approval has been obtained from ten study sites at time of this submission. The electronic Case Report Forms have been created. The first patient was to be randomized November 14th, 2011. An initiation meeting took place in Berlin January 9th, 2012.
oligosymptomatic incisional hernia; watchful waiting; surgical repair; prospective randomized trial
No randomised, controlled trials have been conducted to date on the efficacy of psychological and pharmacological treatments of pain catastrophising (PC) in patients with fibromyalgia. Our aim in this study was to assess the effectiveness of cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) and the recommended pharmacological treatment (RPT) compared with treatment as usual (TAU) at the primary care level for the treatment of PC in fibromyalgia patients.
We conducted a six-month, multicenter, randomized, blinded, parallel group, controlled trial in which patients were randomly assigned to one of three study arms: CBT (n = 57), RPT (n = 56) and TAU at the primary care level (n = 56). The major outcome of this study was PC in patients with fibromyalgia. The secondary variables were pain acceptance, depression, anxiety, pain, global function and quality of life.
CBT significantly decreased global PC at the six-month follow-up examination with effect sizes of Cohen's d = 0.73 and 1.01 compared with RPT and TAU, respectively. CBT was also more effective than RPT and TAU at increasing pain acceptance at the six-month follow-up examination (effect sizes of Cohen's d = 0.77 and 0.80, respectively). Compared with RPT and TAU, CBT was more effective at improving global function based on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (six-month effect sizes Cohen's d = 0.44 and 0.53, respectively) and quality of life based on the European Quality of Life Scale (six-month effect sizes Cohen's d = 0.11 and 0.40, respectively). There were no differences among the three treatments with regard to pain and depression.
CBT shows higher efficacy than RPT and TAU not only in key outcomes in FM, such as function and quality of life, but also in relevant mediators of treatment effects, such as pain catastrophising and pain acceptance.
catastrophisation; fibromyalgia; randomised controlled trial; cognitive-behaviour therapy
The RASCAL (Refractory Angina Spinal Cord stimulation and usuAL care) pilot study seeks to assess the feasibility of a definitive trial to assess if addition of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) to usual care is clinically superior and more cost-effective than usual care alone in patients with refractory angina.
This is an external pilot, patient-randomized controlled trial.
The study will take place at three centers in the United Kingdom - South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (The James Cook University Hospital), Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The subjects will be 45 adults with refractory angina, that is, limiting angina despite optimal anti-angina therapy, Canadian Cardiovascular Society Functional Classification Class III and IV, angiographically documented coronary artery disease not suitable for revascularization, satisfactory multidisciplinary assessment and demonstrable ischemia on functional testing.
The study will be stratified by center, age and Canadian Cardiovascular Society Functional Classification.
Interventions will involve spinal cord stimulation plus usual care (‘SCS group’) or usual care alone (‘UC group’). Usual care received by both groups will include consideration of an education session with a pain consultant, trial of a transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation, serial thoracic sympathectomy and oral/systemic analgesics.
Expected outcomes will be recruitment and retention rates; reasons for agreeing/declining participation; variability in primary and secondary outcomes (to inform power calculations for a definitive trial); and completion rates of outcome measures. Trial patient-related outcomes include disease-specific and generic health-related quality of life, angina exercise capacity, intake of angina medications, frequency of angina attacks, complications and adverse events, and satisfaction.
The RASCAL pilot trial seeks to determine the feasibility and design of a definitive randomized controlled trial comparing the addition of spinal cord stimulation to usual care versus usual care alone for patients with refractory angina.
Fifteen patients have been recruited since recruitment opened in October 2011. The trial was originally scheduled to end in April 2013 but due to slow recruitment may have to be extended to late 2013.
Randomized controlled trial; Pilot study; Refractory angina; Spinal cord stimulation
Clinical studies on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that include schizophrenia patients primarily on the basis of negative symptoms are uncommon. However, those studies are necessary to assess the efficacy of CBT on negative symptoms. This article first gives an overview of CBT on negative symptoms and discusses the methodological problems of selecting an adequate control group. Furthermore, the article describes a clinical study (the TONES-Study, ISRCTN 25455020), which aims to investigate whether CBT is specifically efficacious for the reduction of negative symptoms. This multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing CBT with cognitive remediation (CR) for control of nonspecific effects is depicted in detail. In our trial, schizophrenia patients (n = 198) participated in manualized individual outpatient treatments. Primary outcome is the negative syndrome assessed with the positive and negative syndrome scale, analyzed with multilevel linear mixed models. Patients in both groups moderately improved regarding the primary endpoint. However, against expectation, there was no difference between the groups after treatment in the intention to treat as well as in the per-protocol analysis. In conclusion, psychotherapeutic intervention may be useful for the reduction of negative symptoms. However, there is no indication for specific effects of CBT compared with CR.
schizophrenia; cognitive behavioral therapy; cognitive remediation; negative symptoms; randomized clinical trial
To compare the performance of community- vs university-based clinical centers in 3 multicenter randomized clinical trials of intraocular surgery.
Each Submacular Surgery Trials clinical center was classified as a university-based center, if the contract to perform as a center was signed by a university official, or as a community-based center. The 2 groups of centers were compared on performance, assessed cumulatively by the Submacular Surgery Trials Quality Assurance and Monitoring Subcommittee.
Patient accrual, completion of scheduled examinations, completion of masked vision examinations 2 years after enrollment (the designated primary study end point evaluation time), timeliness of submission of retinal photographs required by protocol to the Photograph Reading Center, completion of health- and vision-related quality-of-life interviews, and timeliness of submission of the primary outcome data to the Coordinating Center after completion of the examination.
Almost all centers performed at a very high (good) level, although there was a trend for some community-based centers to be at the lower end of most distributions.
Most community- and university-based centers performed well in these multicenter clinical trials. Monitoring performance and periodically providing feedback to clinical center investigators may encourage excellent performance in areas critical to the success of clinical trials, regardless of whether the center is community or university based.
A trial was performed to establish whether our group care model for lifestyle intervention in type 2 diabetes can be exported to other clinics.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
This study was a 4-year, two-armed, multicenter controlled trial in 13 hospital-based diabetes clinics in Italy (current controlled trials no. ISRCTN19509463). A total of 815 non–insulin-treated patients aged <80 years with ≥1 year known diabetes duration were randomized to either group or individual care.
After 4 years, patients in group care had lower A1C, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, BMI, and serum creatinine and higher HDL cholesterol (P < 0.001, for all) than control subjects receiving individual care, despite similar pharmacological prescriptions. Health behaviors, quality of life, and knowledge of diabetes had become better in group care patients than in control subjects (P < 0.001, for all).
The favorable clinical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes of group care can be reproduced in different clinical settings.
Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is approved in Europe for use in patients with acute ischaemic stroke who meet strictly defined criteria. IST-3 sought to improve the external validity and precision of the estimates of the overall treatment effects (efficacy and safety) of rtPA in acute ischaemic stroke, and to determine whether a wider range of patients might benefit.
International, multi-centre, prospective, randomized, open, blinded endpoint (PROBE) trial of intravenous rtPA in acute ischaemic stroke. Suitable patients had to be assessed and able to start treatment within 6 hours of developing symptoms, and brain imaging must have excluded intracranial haemorrhage and stroke mimics.
The initial pilot phase was double blind and then, on 01/08/2003, changed to an open design. Recruitment began on 05/05/2000 and closed on 31/07/2011, by which time 3035 patients had been included, only 61 (2%) of whom met the criteria for the 2003 European approval for thrombolysis. 1617 patients were aged over 80 years at trial entry. The analysis plan will be finalised, without reference to the unblinded data, and published before the trial data are unblinded in early 2012. The main trial results will be presented at the European Stroke Conference in Lisbon in May 2012 with the aim to publish simultaneously in a peer-reviewed journal. The trial result will be presented in the context of an updated Cochrane systematic review. We also intend to include the trial data in an individual patient data meta-analysis of all the relevant randomised trials.
The data from the trial will: improve the external validity and precision of the estimates of the overall treatment effects (efficacy and safety) of iv rtPA in acute ischaemic stroke; provide: new evidence on the balance of risk and benefit of intravenous rtPA among types of patients who do not clearly meet the terms of the current EU approval; and, provide the first large-scale randomised evidence on effects in patients over 80, an age group which had largely been excluded from previous acute stroke trials.
In recent years some studies have been published supporting the efficacy of light exposure, physical activity, sleep control and a Mediterranean diet pattern on the improvement or prevention of Depression. However, to our knowledge, there have been no studies using all these measures together as an adjuvant antidepressant strategy.
Multicenter, randomized, controlled, two arm-parallel, clinical trial. Eighty depressed patients undergoing standard antidepressant treatment will be advised to follow four additional hygienic-dietary recommendations about exercise, diet, sunlight exposure and sleep. Outcome measures will be assessed before and after the 6 month intervention period.
We expect the patients in the active recommendations group to experience a greater improvement in their depressive symptoms. If so, this would be a great support for doctors who might systematically recommend these simple and costless measures, especially in primary care.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain and tenderness. Prior trials have demonstrated the efficacy of pregabalin for the relief of fibromyalgia symptoms, and it is approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia in the United States. However, prior to this study, there has not been a large-scale efficacy trial in patients with fibromyalgia in Japan.
This randomized, double-blind, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at 44 centers in Japan to assess the efficacy and safety of pregabalin for the symptomatic relief of pain in fibromyalgia patients. Patients aged ≥18 years who had met the criteria for fibromyalgia were randomized to receive either pregabalin, starting at 150 mg/day and increasing to a maintenance dose of 300 or 450 mg/day, or placebo, for 15 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was mean pain score at final assessment. Secondary endpoints included Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) together with measures of sleep, physical functioning and quality of life.
A total of 498 patients (89% female) were randomized to receive either pregabalin (n = 250) or placebo (n = 248). Pregabalin significantly reduced mean pain score at final assessment (difference in mean change from baseline, compared with placebo -0.44; P = 0.0046) and at every week during the study (P <0.025). Key secondary endpoints were also significantly improved with pregabalin treatment compared with placebo, including PGIC (percentage reporting symptoms "very much improved" or "much improved", 38.6% vs 26.7% with placebo; P = 0.0078); pain visual analog scale (difference in mean change from baseline, compared with placebo -6.19; P = 0.0013); Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire total score (-3.33; P = 0.0144); and quality of sleep score (-0.73; P <0.0001). Treatment was generally well tolerated, with somnolence and dizziness the most frequently reported adverse events.
This trial demonstrated that pregabalin, at doses of up to 450 mg/day, was effective for the symptomatic relief of pain in Japanese patients with fibromyalgia. Pregabalin also improved measures of sleep and functioning and was well tolerated. These data indicate that pregabalin is an effective treatment option for the relief of pain and sleep problems in Japanese patients with fibromyalgia.
Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) is a validated tool to measure asthma control. Cut-off points that best discriminate “well-controlled” or “not well-controlled” asthma have been suggested from the analysis of a large randomized clinical trial but they may not be adequate for daily clinical practice.
To establish cut-off points of the ACQ that best discriminate the level of control according to Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2006 guidelines in patients with asthma managed at Allergology and Pulmonology Departments as well as Primary Care Centers in Spain.
Patients and methods
An epidemiological descriptive study, with prospective data collection. Asthma control following GINA-2006 classification and 7-item ACQ was assessed. The study population was split in two parts: 2/3 for finding the cut-off points (development population) and 1/3 for validating the results (validation population).
A total of 1,363 stable asthmatic patients were included (mean age 38 ± 14 years, 60.3% women; 69.1% non-smokers). Patient classification according to GINA-defined asthma control was: controlled 13.6%, partially controlled 34.2%, and uncontrolled 52.3%. The ACQ cut-off points that better agreed with GINA-defined asthma control categories were calculated using receiver operating curves (ROC). The analysis showed that ACQ < 0.5 was the optimal cut-off point for “controlled asthma” (sensitivity 74.1%, specificity 77.5%) and 1.00 for “uncontrolled asthma” (sensitivity 73%, specificity 88.2%). Kappa index between GINA categories and ACQ was 0.62 (p < 0.001).
The ACQ cut-off points associated with GINA-defined asthma control in a real-life setting were <0.5 for controlled asthma and ≥1 for uncontrolled asthma.
Asthma control; GINA guidelines; Asthma control questionnaire; Validation study
The feasibility of conducting a large-scale Polypill clinical trial in developing countries remains unclear. More information is needed regarding the efficacy in reducing the risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD), side effects, improvement in adherence and physician/patient "acceptability" of the Polypill.
We conducted an open-label, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial involving three sites in Sri Lanka that enrolled a total of 216 patients without established CVD. The trial compared a Polypill (75 mg aspirin, 20 mg simvastatin, 10 mg lisinopril and 12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide) to Standard Practice. After randomization, patients were followed monthly for three months. Pre-specified primary outcomes included reduction in systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and estimated 10-year CVD risk. We also evaluated the recruitment process and acceptability of the Polypill by both physicians and patients.
Patients were recruited in a six-month period as planned. Two hundred three patients (94.0%) completed the treatment program and returned for their three-month follow-up visits. No safety concerns were reported. These findings suggest a high rate of patient acceptability, a finding that is bolstered by the majority of patients completing the trial (90%) indicating that they would take the Polypill "for life" if proven to be effective in reducing CVD risk. Approximately 86% of the physicians surveyed agreed with and supported use of the Polypill for primary prevention and 93% for secondary prevention of CVD. Both the Polypill and Standard Practice resulted in marked reductions in systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol and 10-year risk of CVD. However, the differences between the treatment groups were not statistically significant.
We successfully completed a Polypill feasibility trial in Sri Lanka. We were able to document high acceptability of the Polypill to patients and physicians. We were unable to estimate the risk factor reductions on the Polypill because the control group received similar treatment with individual drugs. The Polypill was however simpler and achieved comparable risk factor reductions, highlighting its potential usefulness in the prevention of CVD.
Trial registration number
For a randomized trial, the primary publication is usually the one which reports the results of the primary outcome and provides consolidated data from all study centers. Other aspects of a randomized trial’s findings (that is, non-primary results) are often reported in subsequent publications.
We carried out a cross-sectional review of the characteristics and type of information reported in non-primary reports (n = 69) of randomized trials (indexed in PubMed core clinical journals in 2009) and whether they report pre-specified or exploratory analyses. We also compared consistency of information in non-primary publications with that reported in the primary publication.
The majority (n = 56; 81%) of non-primary publications were large, multicenter trials, published in specialty journals. Most reported subgroup analyses (n = 27; 39%), analyzing a specific subgroup of patients from the randomized trial, or reported on secondary outcomes (n = 29; 42%); 19% (n = 13) reported extended follow-up. Less than half reported details of trial registration (n = 30; 43%) or the trial protocol (n = 27; 39%) and in 41% (n = 28) it was unclear from reading the abstract that the report was not the primary publication for the trial. Non-primary publications often analyzed and reported multiple different outcomes (16% reported >20 outcomes) and in 10% (n = 7) it was unclear how many outcomes had actually been assessed; in 42% (n = 29) it was unclear whether the analyses reported were pre-specified or exploratory. Only 39% (n = 27) of non-primary publications described the primary outcome of the randomized trial, 6% (n = 4) reported its numerical results and 9% (n = 6) details of how participants were randomized.
Non-primary publications often lack important information about the randomized trial and the type of analyses conducted and whether these were pre-specified or exploratory to enable readers to accurately identify and assess the validity and reliably of the study findings. We provide recommendations for what information authors should include in non-primary reports of randomized trials.
Randomized controlled trial; Non-primary publication; Subgroup analyses; Secondary outcomes
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common and important complication of stroke. The CLOTS 3 trial aims to determine whether, compared with best medical care, best medical care plus intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) in immobile stroke patients reduces the risk of proximal deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The CLOTS 3 trial is a multicenter, parallel group trial with centralized randomization (minimization) to ensure allocation concealment. The protocol has been published (Trials 2012, 13:26) and is available in full at: http://www.clotstrial.com. Between December 2008 and September 2012, 105 centers in the UK recruited 2,876 immobile stroke patients within the first 3 days of their hospital admission. Patients were allocated to best medical care or best medical care plus IPC. Ultrasonographers performed a compression Doppler ultrasound scan to detect DVT in each treatment group at 7 to 10 days and 25 to 30 days. The primary outcome cluster includes symptomatic or asymptomatic DVT in the popliteal or femoral veins detected on either scan. Patients will be followed up by postal or telephone questionnaire at 6 months from randomization to detect later symptomatic DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE), and to measure functional outcome (Oxford Handicap Scale) and quality of life (EQ-5D-3L). The ultrasonographers performing the scans are blinded to treatment allocation, whereas the patients and caregivers are not. The trial has more than 90% power to detect a 4% absolute difference (12% versus 8%) in risk of the primary outcome and includes a health economic analysis.
Follow-up will be completed in April 2013 and the results reported in May 2013. In this update, we describe the statistical analysis plan.
Stroke; Deep vein thrombosis; Prevention; Intermittent pneumatic compression; Statistical analysis plan
Severe dental caries and the treatment thereof are reported to affect growth and well-being of young children. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of extraction of severely decayed pulpally involved primary teeth on weight and height in underweight preschool Filipino children.
Underweight preschool Filipino children with severe dental decay had their pulpally involved primary teeth extracted during a stepped wedge cluster randomized clinical trial. Day care centers were randomly divided into two groups; children from Group A day care centers received treatment as soon as practical, whereas children from Group B day care centers were treated four months after Group A. Clinical oral examinations using WHO criteria and the pufa-index were carried out. Anthropometric measurements were done on both groups immediately before treatment of Group A and at follow-up four months later. Height and weight z-scores were calculated using 2006 and 2007 WHO Growth Standards. Multilevel analysis was used to assess the effect of dental extractions on changes in anthropometric measurements after dental treatment.
Data on 164 children (85 in Group A and 79 in Group B), mean age 59.9 months, were analyzed. Both groups gained weight and height during the trial period. Children in Group A significantly increased their BMI (p < 0.001), and their weight-for-age (p < 0.01) and BMI-for-age z-scores (p < 0.001) after dental treatment, whereas untreated children in Group B did not. Children in Group A had significantly more weight gain (p < 0.01) compared to untreated children in Group B. However, children in Group A had an inverse change in height gain (p < 0.001). Adjustment for the time interval between the two visits had little effect on the results.
The extraction of severely decayed primary teeth resulted in significant weight gain in underweight Filipino children. Untreated dental decay should be considered an important co-factor affecting child growth and should be considered when planning for interventions to improve child growth.
Underweight; Weight gain; Growth; Dental caries; Dental decay; Tooth extraction; Dental extraction; Stepped wedge design; Cluster randomized trial; Clinical trial