In cooperation with the Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) initiative, the COnsensus-based Standards for the selection of health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) initiative aimed to develop a guideline on how to select outcome measurement instruments for outcomes (i.e., constructs or domains) included in a “Core Outcome Set” (COS). A COS is an agreed minimum set of outcomes that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials of a specific disease or trial population.
Informed by a literature review to identify potentially relevant tasks on outcome measurement instrument selection, a Delphi study was performed among a panel of international experts, representing diverse stakeholders. In three consecutive rounds, panelists were asked to rate the importance of different tasks in the selection of outcome measurement instruments, to justify their choices, and to add other relevant tasks. Consensus was defined as being achieved when 70 % or more of the panelists agreed and when fewer than 15 % of the panelists disagreed.
Of the 481 invited experts, 120 agreed to participate of whom 95 (79 %) completed the first Delphi questionnaire. We reached consensus on four main steps in the selection of outcome measurement instruments for COS: Step 1, conceptual considerations; Step 2, finding existing outcome measurement instruments, by means of a systematic review and/or a literature search; Step 3, quality assessment of outcome measurement instruments, by means of the evaluation of the measurement properties and feasibility aspects of outcome measurement instruments; and Step 4, generic recommendations on the selection of outcome measurement instruments for outcomes included in a COS (consensus ranged from 70 to 99 %).
This study resulted in a consensus-based guideline on the methods for selecting outcome measurement instruments for outcomes included in a COS. This guideline can be used by COS developers in defining how to measure core outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1555-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
COMET; Core Outcome Set; COSMIN; Delphi study; Guideline; Instrument selection; Outcomes research; Outcome measurement instrument
Heterogeneity has been noted in the selection and reporting of disease-specific, pediatric outcomes in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The consequence is invalid results or difficulty comparing results across trials. The primary objective of this systematic review was to assess primary outcome and outcome measure selection and reporting, in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) treatment trials. As secondary objectives, we compared trial disease definition to established concensus guidelines, and the efficacy of current EoE treatments.
We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and CINAHL since 2001. We also searched clinical trial registries (portal.nihr.ac.uk; clinicaltrials.gov; isrctn.com; and anzctr.org.au) and references of included studies. We included RCTs of EoE treatment in patients 0–18 years. Two authors independently assessed articles.
Eleven studies met inclusion criteria. All identified primary outcomes, however, of 9 unique primary outcomes, only 2 were used in more than one study. In total, 25 unique primary and secondary outcome measures were employed for pediatric EoE treatment trials. Measurement properties and rationale for their selection was rarely provided. Uptake of consensus-based diagnostic criteria was 25 % in trials initiated after 2011. Due to the small number and heterogeneity of studies obtained, no meta-analysis of treatment efficacy could be undertaken. This SR was limited to exclusively pediatric RCTs.
The results of this study confirm the need for a standardized set of core outcomes that are universally reported in pediatric EoE trials. Consistent disease definition and standardized outcome reporting will facilitate meta-analyses across similar trials and inform future clinical decision-making.
Systematic review registration number CRD42013003798
Eosinophilic esophagitis; Outcome measures; Pediatric; Systematic review; Treatment
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological disorder affecting 5 % of children worldwide. A prevalent problem for children with ADHD is initial insomnia. The gold standard treatment to manage ADHD symptoms is stimulant medications, which may exacerbate the severity of existing initial insomnia. Currently, no gold standard treatment option exists for initial insomnia for these children. Melatonin, a hormone and a popular natural health product, is commonly provided to children by parents and recommended by healthcare providers, but high quality pediatric evidence is lacking.
This trial is a multicenter randomized triple-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, randomized, controlled trial (RCT), in which each participant is offered an N-of-1 trial. An N-of-1 trial is a multiple-crossover, randomized, controlled trial conducted in a single individual. For the N-of-1 trial, each participant will undergo three pairs of treatment/placebo periods; each period is 1 week in length. Half the participants will have melatonin in the first period, the other half will start with placebo, and this will make up the parallel-group RCT. The primary outcome will be mean difference in sleep onset latency as measured by sleep diaries. A comparison of treatment effects yielded by the RCT data versus the aggregated N-of-1 trial data will also be assessed.
This trial will provide rigorous evidence for the effectiveness of melatonin in children with ADHD on stimulants who experience initial insomnia. Further, this study will provide the first prospectively planned head-to-head comparison of RCT data with pooled data from a series of N-of-1 trials. Aggregated N-of-1 trials may be a powerful tool to produce high quality clinical trial evidence.
Trial registration numbers
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02333149. Registered on 16 December 2014. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12614000542695. Registered on 21 May 2014.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1499-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
ADHD; Initial insomnia; Melatonin; N-of-1 trial; Randomized controlled trial
Reporting guidelines, such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement, improve the reporting of research in the medical literature (Turner et al., 2012). Many such guidelines exist and the CONSORT Extension to Nonpharmacological Trials (Boutron et al., 2008) provides suitable guidance for reporting between-groups intervention studies in the behavioral sciences. The CONSORT Extension for N-of-1 Trials (CENT 2015) was developed for multiple crossover trials with single individuals in the medical sciences (Shamseer et al., 2015; Vohra et al., 2015), but there is no reporting guideline in the CONSORT tradition for single case research used in the behavioral sciences. We developed the Single Case Reporting guideline In BEhavioural interventions (SCRIBE) 2016 to meet this need. This statement article describes the methodology of the development of the SCRIBE 2016, along with the outcome of 2 Delphi surveys and a consensus meeting of experts. We present the resulting 26-item SCRIBE 2016 checklist. The article complements the more detailed SCRIBE 2016 explanation and elaboration article (Tate et al., 2016) that provides a rationale for each of the items and examples of adequate reporting from the literature. Both these resources will assist authors to prepare reports of single case research with clarity, completeness, accuracy, and transparency. They will also provide journal reviewers and editors with a practical checklist against which such reports may be critically evaluated.
single-case design; methodology; reporting guidelines; publication standards
We developed a reporting guideline to provide authors with guidance about what should be reported when writing a paper for publication in a scientific journal using a particular type of research design: the single-case experimental design. This report describes the methods used to develop the Single-Case Reporting guideline In BEhavioural interventions (SCRIBE) 2016. As a result of 2 online surveys and a 2-day meeting of experts, the SCRIBE 2016 checklist was developed, which is a set of 26 items that authors need to address when writing about single-case research. This article complements the more detailed SCRIBE 2016 Explanation and Elaboration article (Tate et al., 2016) that provides a rationale for each of the items and examples of adequate reporting from the literature. Both these resources will assist authors to prepare reports of single-case research with clarity, completeness, accuracy, and transparency. They will also provide journal reviewers and editors with a practical checklist against which such reports may be critically evaluated. We recommend that the SCRIBE 2016 is used by authors preparing manuscripts describing single-case research for publication, as well as journal reviewers and editors who are evaluating such manuscripts.
Reporting guidelines, such as the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) Statement, improve the reporting of research in the medical literature (Turner et al., 2012). Many such guidelines exist and the CONSORT Extension to Nonpharmacological Trials (Boutron et al., 2008) provides suitable guidance for reporting between-groups intervention studies in the behavioral sciences. The CONSORT Extension for N-of-1 Trials (CENT 2015) was developed for multiple crossover trials with single individuals in the medical sciences (Shamseer et al., 2015; Vohra et al., 2015), but there is no reporting guideline in the CONSORT tradition for single-case research used in the behavioral sciences. We developed the Single-Case Reporting guideline In BEhavioural interventions (SCRIBE) 2016 to meet this need. This Statement article describes the methodology of the development of the SCRIBE 2016, along with the outcome of 2 Delphi surveys and a consensus meeting of experts. We present the resulting 26-item SCRIBE 2016 checklist. The article complements the more detailed SCRIBE 2016 Explanation and Elaboration article (Tate et al., 2016) that provides a rationale for each of the items and examples of adequate reporting from the literature. Both these resources will assist authors to prepare reports of single-case research with clarity, completeness, accuracy, and transparency. They will also provide journal reviewers and editors with a practical checklist against which such reports may be critically evaluated.
single-case design; methodology; reporting guidelines; publication standards
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is commonly used by children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), yet no validated questionnaires assess that use. The objective of this study was to develop child self- and parent proxy-report questionnaires assessing CAM use and to determine the face and content validity of the “Which Health Approaches and Treatments are you using?” (WHAT) questionnaires in pediatric rheumatology.
A sequential phased mixed methods approach was used to develop the questionnaires. A Delphi Survey of 126 experts followed by an interdisciplinary consensus conference of 14 stakeholders in CAM, general pediatrics and pediatric rheumatology was held to develop consensus on the content of the questionnaires using a nominal group technique. To determine face and content validity of the questionnaires, two groups, including (a) a purposive sample of 22 children with JIA 8 to 18 years and their parents from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Hospital for Sick Children, and (b) 21 Canadian pediatric rheumatology experts, participated in interviews. Participants were independently asked about the goal, understandability and comprehensiveness of the WHAT questionnaires, as well as the relevance of items.
Consensus was reached on 17 items of the WHAT questionnaires. The domains found to be relevant were child’s CAM use, factors associated with CAM use, perceived impact of CAM use, and communication about CAM. A total of 15 items in the parent proxy-report questionnaire and 13 items in the child report questionnaire showed adequate content validity.
Consensus was reached by experts on the content of a pediatric CAM questionnaire. Face and content validity testing and modifications made to the WHAT questionnaires have helped ensure adequate preliminary validity for use in pediatric rheumatology. This constitutes the basis for further testing of these questionnaires in pediatric rheumatology and for adaptation to other chronic diseases.
During the last decade critical new information has been published pertaining to folic acid supplementation in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) and other folic acid–sensitive congenital malformations. These new data have important implications for women, their families, and health care professionals. We performed a review looking for the optimal dosage of folic acid that should be given to women of reproductive age who are planning or not avoiding conception to propose updated guidelines and thus help health care providers and patients. In addition to fortification of dietary staples with folic acid, women of reproductive age should supplement before conception with 0.4‐1.0 mg of folic acid daily as part of their multivitamins. In the United States all enriched rice is also fortified with folic acid at 0.7 mg per pound of raw rice. However, this is not the case in many countries, and it has been estimated that only 1% of industrially milled rice is fortified with folic acid. In countries where rice is the main staple (eg, China), this does not allow effective folate fortification. Whereas the incidence of NTDs is around 1/1000 in the United States, it is 3‐ to 5‐fold higher in Northern China and 3‐fold higher in India. A recent population‐based US study estimated that the reduction in NTD rates by folic acid is more modest than previously predicted. The potential of NTD prevention by folic acid is underutilized due to low adherence with folic acid supplementation, and calls for revising the policy of supplementation have been raised. We identified groups of women of reproductive age who may benefit from higher daily doses of folic acid, and this should be considered in current practice. These include women who have had previous pregnancies with NTDs, those who did not plan their pregnancy and hence did not supplement, and women with low intake or impaired adherence to daily folic acid supplementation. In addition, women with known genetic variations in the folate metabolic cycle, those exposed to medications with antifolate effects, smokers, diabetics, and the obese may benefit from higher doses of folic acid daily during the first trimester.
folic acid; folate; neural tube defects; prevention; genetics of neural tube defects; spina bifida
The use of complementary and alternative medicine is high among children and youth with chronic illnesses, including patients with cardiac conditions. Our goal was to assess the prevalence and patterns of such use among patients presenting to academic pediatric cardiology clinics in Canada.
A survey instrument was developed to inquire about current or previous use of complementary and alternative medicine products and practices, including indications, beliefs, sources of information and whether this use was discussed with physicians. Between February and July 2007, the survey was administered to patients (or their parents/guardians) presenting to 2 hospital-based cardiology clinics: the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Ontario.
At the Stollery Children’s Hospital, 64.1% of the 145 respondents had used complementary and alternative medicine compared with 35.5% of the 31 respondents at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (p = 0.003). Overall, the most common products in current use were multivitamins (70.6%), vitamin C (22.1%), calcium (13.2%), unspecified “cold remedies” (11.8%) and fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids (11.8%). The most common practices in current use were massage (37.5%), faith healing (25.0%), chiropractic (20.0%), aromatherapy (15.0%) and Aboriginal healing (7.5%). Many patients (44.9%) used complementary and alternative medicine products at the same time as conventional prescription drugs. Concurrent use was discussed with physicians or pharmacists by 64.3% and 31.3% of respondents, respectively.
Use of complementary and alternative medicine products and practices was high among patients seen in the pediatric cardiology clinics in our study. Most respondents believed that the use of these products and practices was helpful; few reported harms and many did not discuss this use with their physicians, increasing the potential for interactions with prescribed medications.
Fatigue is one of many unintended consequences of shift work in the nursing profession. Natural health products (NHPs) for fatigue are becoming an increasingly popular topic of clinical study; one such NHP is Rhodiola rosea. A well-designed, rigorously conducted randomized controlled trial is required before therapeutic claims for this product can be made.
To compare the efficacy of R. rosea with placebo for reducing fatigue in nursing students on shift work.
A parallel-group randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 18–55 year old students from the Faculty of Nursing from the University of Alberta, participating in clinical rotations between January 2011 and September 2011.
Participants were randomized to take 364 mg of either R. rosea or identical placebo at the start of their wakeful period and up to one additional capsule within the following four hours on a daily basis over a 42-day period.
The primary outcome was reduction in fatigue over the 42-day trial period measured using the Vitality-subscale of the RAND-36, cross-validated by the visual analogue scale for fatigue (VAS-F). Secondary outcomes included health-related quality of life, individualized outcomes assessment, and adverse events.
A total of 48 participants were randomized to R. rosea (n = 24) or placebo (n = 24). The mean change in scores on the Vitality-subscale was significantly different between the study groups at day 42 in favor of placebo (−17.3 (95% CI −30.6, −3.9), p = 0.011), The mean change in scores on the VAS-F was also significantly difference between study groups at day 42 in favour of placebo (1.9 (95% CI 0.4, 3.5), p = 0.015). Total number of adverse events did not differ between R. rosea and placebo groups.
This study indicates that among nursing students on shift work, a 42-day course of R. Rosea compared with placebo worsened fatigue; however, the results should be interpreted with caution.
The Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials (COMET) initiative aims to facilitate the development and application of ‘core outcome sets’ (COS). A COS is an agreed minimum set of outcomes that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials of a specific disease or trial population. The overall aim of the Core Outcome Measurement Instrument Selection (COMIS) project is to develop a guideline on how to select outcome measurement instruments for outcomes included in a COS. As part of this project, we describe our current efforts to achieve a consensus on the methods for selecting outcome measurement instruments for outcomes to be included in a COS.
A Delphi study is being performed by a panel of international experts representing diverse stakeholders with the intention that this will result in a guideline for outcome measurement instrument selection. Informed by a literature review, a Delphi questionnaire was developed to identify potentially relevant tasks on instrument selection. The Delphi study takes place in a series of rounds. In the first round, panelists were asked to rate the importance of different tasks in the selection of outcome measurement instruments. They were encouraged to justify their choices and to add other relevant tasks. Consensus was reached if at least 70% of the panelists considered a task ‘highly recommended’ or ‘desirable’ and if no opposing arguments were provided. These tasks will be included in the guideline. Tasks that at least 50% of the panelists considered ‘not relevant’ will be excluded from the guideline. Tasks that were indeterminate will be taken to the second round. All responses of the first round are currently being aggregated and will be fed back to panelists in the second round. A third round will only be performed if the results of the second round require it.
Since the Delphi method allows a large group of international experts to participate, we consider it to be the preferred consensus-based method for our study. Based upon this consultation process, a guideline will be developed on instrument selection for outcomes to be included in a COS.
COMET; Core outcome set; Delphi study; Outcome measurement instruments; Selection; Protocol; Guideline
Considerable heterogeneity has been observed in the selection and reporting of disease-specific pediatric outcome measures in randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This makes interpretation of results and comparison across trials challenging. Outcome measures in pediatric anaphylaxis trials have never previously been systematically assessed. This systematic review (SR) identified and assessed outcome measures used in RCTs of anaphylaxis treatment in children. As a secondary objective, this SR assessed the evidence for current treatment modalities for anaphylaxis in the pediatric population.
We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and CINAHL from 2001 until December 2012. We also searched websites listing ongoing trials. We included randomized and controlled trials of anaphylaxis treatment in patients 0–18 years of age. Two authors independently assessed articles for inclusion.
No published studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria.
There is an alarming absence of RCTs evaluating the treatments for anaphylaxis in children. High quality studies are needed and are possible to design, despite the severe and acute nature of this condition. Consensus about the selection and validation of appropriate outcome measures will enhance the quality of research and improve the care of children with anaphylaxis.
Previous studies have found that up to 60% of children with neurologic conditions have tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
To assess the use of CAM among patients presenting to neurology clinics at two academic centers in Canada.
A survey instrument was developed to inquire about use of CAM products and therapies, including reasons for use, perceived helpfulness, and concurrent use with conventional medicine, and administered to patients or their parents/guardians at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa.
Overall CAM use at the Stollery was 78%, compared to 48% at CHEO. The most common CAM products used were multi-vitamins (84%), vitamin C (37%), homeopathic remedies (24%), and fish oil/omega 3 s (22%). The most common CAM practices used were massage (47%), chiropractic (37%), faith healing (18%), aromatherapy (16%), homeopathy (16%), and relaxation (16%). Many patients used CAM products at the same time as conventional medicine but just over half (57%) discussed this concurrent use with their physician.
CAM use is common in pediatric neurology patients and most respondents felt that it was helpful, with few or no harms associated. However, this use is often undisclosed, increasing possibility of interactions with conventional drugs. We urge clinicians to inquire about CAM use during routine history taking at every patient visit. Parents would clearly like more information about CAM from their specialty clinics; such information would be easier to share if more primary data were available about the safety and effectiveness of commonly used therapies.
To investigate the rates and causality of adverse event(s) (AE) associated with natural health product (NHP) use, prescription drug use and concurrent NHP-drug use through active surveillance in community pharmacies.
Cross-sectional study of screened patients.
10 community pharmacies across Alberta and British Columbia, Canada from 14 January to 30 July 2011.
The participating pharmacy staff screened consecutive patients, or agents of patients, who were dropping or picking up prescription medications.
Primary outcome measures
Patients were screened to determine the proportions of them using prescription drugs and/or NHPs, as well as their respective AE rates. All AEs reported by the screened patients who took a NHP, consented to, and were available for, a detailed telephone interview (14%) were adjudicated fully to assess for causality.
Over a total of 105 pharmacy weeks and 1118 patients screened, 410 patients reported taking prescription drugs only (36.7%; 95% CI 33.9% to 39.5%), 37 reported taking NHPs only (3.3%; 95% CI 2.4% to 4.5%) and 657 reported taking prescription drugs and NHPs concurrently (58.8%; 95% CI 55.9% to 61.6%). In total, 54 patients reported an AE, representing 1.2% (95% CI 0.51% to 2.9%), 2.7% (95% CI 0.4% to 16.9%) and 7.3% (95% CI 5.6% to 9.6%) of each population, respectively. Compared with patients who reported using prescription drugs, the patients who reported using prescription drugs and NHPs concurrently were 6.4 times more likely to experience an AE (OR; 95% CI 2.52 to 16.17; p<0.001). Combined with data from Ontario, Canada, a national proportion was calculated, which found that 45.4% (95% CI 43.8% to 47.0%) of Canadians who visit community pharmacies take NHPs and prescription drugs concurrently, and of those, 7.4% (95% CI 6.3% to 8.8%) report an AE.
A substantial proportion of community pharmacy patients use prescription drugs and NHPs concurrently; these patients are at a greater risk of experiencing an AE. Active surveillance provides a means of detecting such AEs and collecting high-quality data on which causality assessment can be based.
Complementary Medicine; Toxicology
The high prevalence of chronic illness has prompted many to seek treatment alternatives outside of conventional medicine. Many health care providers, however, may be dangerously unaware of CAM use in their patients due, in part, to nondisclosure or because CAM use is not specifically addressed in the clinic or office. Prompted by the lack of data from Canada, this study investigated pediatric CAM use in respiratory clinics in Edmonton (Alberta) and Ottawa (Ontario).
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased in recent years, with especially high prevalence in individuals with chronic illnesses. In the United States, the prevalence of CAM use in pediatric asthma patients is as high as 89%.
To investigate the epidemiology of pediatric CAM use in respiratory subspecialty clinics.
A survey was conducted at two hospital-based respiratory clinics in Edmonton (Alberta) and Ottawa (Ontario). Caregivers (most often parents) of children <18 years of age were asked questions regarding child and caregiver use of CAM, including products and practices used, beliefs about CAM, trust in information sources about CAM and characteristics of the respondents themselves.
A total of 202 survey questionnaires were completed (151 from Edmonton and 51 from Ottawa). Pediatric CAM use in Edmonton was 68% compared with 45% in Ottawa, and was associated with caregiver CAM use, poorer health and health insurance coverage for CAM. The majority (67%) of children using CAM had taken prescription drugs concurrently and 58% of caregivers had discussed this with their doctor.
Lifetime use of CAM at these pediatric clinics was higher than reported for children who do not have chronic diseases. CAM practices that are popular may be worthy of further research to evaluate their effectiveness and safety profile with regard to drug interactions. Health care providers should be encouraged to discuss CAM use at every visit, and explore their patient’s health-related beliefs, behaviours and treatment preferences.
Asthma, Complementary medicine; Cystic fibrosis; Pediatrics; Respiratory illness; Survey
Information about the safety of herbal medicine often comes from case reports published in the medical literature, thus necessitating good quality reporting of these adverse events. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the comprehensiveness of reporting of published case reports of adverse events associated with herb use in the pediatric population.
Electronic literature search included 7 databases and a manual search of retrieved articles from inception through 2010. We included published case reports and case series that reported an adverse event associated with exposure to an herbal product by children under the age of 18 years old. We used descriptive statistics. Based on the International Society of Epidemiology's “Guidelines for Submitting Adverse Events Reports for Publication,” we developed and assigned a guideline adherence score (0-17) to each case report.
Ninety-six unique journal papers were identified and represented 128 cases. Of the 128 cases, 37% occurred in children under 2 years old, 38% between the ages of 2 and 8 years old, and 23% between the ages of 9 and 18 years old. Twenty-nine percent of cases were the result of an intentional ingestion while 36% were from an unintentional ingestion. Fifty-two percent of cases documented the Latin binomial of the herb ingredients; 41% documented plant part. Thirty-two percent of the cases reported laboratory testing of the herb, 20% documented the manufacturer of the product, and 22% percent included an assessment of the potential concomitant therapies that could have been influential in the adverse events. Mean guideline adherence score was 12.5 (range 6-17).
There is considerable need for improvement in reporting adverse events in children following herb use. Without better quality reporting, adverse event reports cannot be interpreted reliably and do not contribute in a meaningful way to guiding recommendations for medicinal herb use.
Herbs; adverse events; pediatric; systematic review
To perform a systematic review of adverse events associated with herb use in the pediatric population. Since many health care providers get their information about the safety of herbal medicine from case reports published in the medical literature, it is important to assess the quality of these case reports.
Electronic literature search included 7 databases and a manual search of retrieved articles from inception through 2010. We included case reports and case series that reported an adverse event associated with exposure to an herbal product by children under the age of 18 years old. Based on the International Society of Epidemiology's “Guidelines for Submitting Adverse Events Reports for Publication”, we assigned a guideline adherence score (0-17) to each case report.
Ninety-six unique journal papers were identified and represented 128 cases. Of the 128 cases, 37% occurred in children under 2 years old, 38% between the ages of 2 – 8 years old, and 23 % between the ages 9-18 years old. In a few cases, the child used a product that was contaminated (5%) or adulterated (2%). Twenty-nine percent of cases were the result of an intentional ingestion while 36% were from an unintentional ingestion. Mean guideline adherence score was 12.5 (range 6 – 17).
There is considerable need for improvement in reporting adverse events in children following herb use. Without better quality reporting, adverse event reports cannot be interpreted reliably, and do not contribute in a meaningful way to guiding clinical recommendations.
herbs; adverse events; pediatric; systematic review
Objectives To examine the quality of reporting of harms in systematic reviews, and to determine the need for a reporting guideline specific for reviews of harms.
Design Systematic review.
Data sources Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE).
Review methods Databases were searched for systematic reviews having an adverse event as the main outcome, published from January 2008 to April 2011. Adverse events included an adverse reaction, harms, or complications associated with any healthcare intervention. Articles with a primary aim to investigate the complete safety profile of an intervention were also included. We developed a list of 37 items to measure the quality of reporting on harms in each review; data were collected as dichotomous outcomes (“yes” or “no” for each item).
Results Of 4644 reviews identified, 309 were systematic reviews or meta-analyses primarily assessing harms (13 from CDSR; 296 from DARE). Despite a short time interval, the comparison between the years of 2008 and 2010-11 showed no difference on the quality of reporting over time (P=0.079). Titles in fewer than half the reviews (proportion of reviews 0.46 (95% confidence interval 0.40 to 0.52)) did not mention any harm related terms. Almost one third of DARE reviews (0.26 (0.22 to 0.31)) did not clearly define the adverse events reviewed, nor did they specify the study designs selected for inclusion in their methods section. Almost half of reviews (n=170) did not consider patient risk factors or length of follow-up when reviewing harms of an intervention. Of 67 reviews of complications related to surgery or other procedures, only four (0.05 (0.01 to 0.14)) reported professional qualifications of the individuals involved. The overall, unweighted, proportion of reviews with good reporting was 0.56 (0.55 to 0.57); corresponding proportions were 0.55 (0.53 to 0.57) in 2008, 0.55 (0.54 to 0.57) in 2009, and 0.57 (0.55 to 0.58) in 2010-11.
Conclusion Systematic reviews compound the poor reporting of harms data in primary studies by failing to report on harms or doing so inadequately. Improving reporting of adverse events in systematic reviews is an important step towards a balanced assessment of an intervention.
Background. The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is high among children and youths with chronic illnesses, including cancer. The objective of this study was to assess prevalence and patterns of CAM use among pediatric oncology outpatients in two academic clinics in Canada. Procedure. A survey was developed to ask patients (or their parents/guardians) presenting to oncology clinics at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa about current or previous use of CAM products and practices. Results. Of the 137 families approached, 129 completed the survey. Overall CAM use was 60.5% and was not significantly different between the two hospitals. The most commonly reported reason for not using CAM was lack of knowledge about it. The most common CAM products ever used were multivitamins (86.5%), vitamin C (43.2%), cold remedies (28.4%), teething remedies (27.5%), and calcium (23.0%). The most common CAM practices ever used were faith healing (51.0%), massage (46.8%), chiropractic (27.7%), and relaxation (25.5%). Many patients (40.8%) used CAM products at the same time as prescription drugs. Conclusion. CAM use was high among patients at two academic pediatric oncology clinics. Although most respondents felt that their CAM use was helpful, many were not discussing it with their physicians.
Background. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by children with cancer is high; however, pediatric best cases are rare. Objectives. To investigate whether best cases exist in pediatric oncology using a three-phase approach and to compare our methods with other such programs. Methods. In phase I, Children's Oncology Group (COG) oncologists were approached via email and asked to recall patients who were (i) under 18 when diagnosed with cancer, (ii) diagnosed between 1990 and 2006, (iii) had unexpectedly positive clinical outcome, and (iv) reported using CAM during or after cancer treatment. Phase II involved partnering with CAM research networks; patients who were self-identified as best cases were asked to submit reports completed in conjunction with their oncologists. Phase III extended this partnership to 200 CAM associations and training organizations. Results. In phase I, ten cases from three COG sites were submitted, and most involved use of traditional Chinese medicine to improve quality of life. Phases II and III did not yield further cases. Conclusion. Identification of best cases has been suggested as an important step in guiding CAM research. The CARE Best Case Series Program had limited success in identifying pediatric cases despite the three approaches we used.