Research Synthesis Methods

An appraisal of meta‐analysis guidelines: how do they relate to safety outcomes?

Journal Article

Although well developed to assess efficacy questions, meta‐analyses and, more generally, systematic reviews, have received less attention in application to safety‐related questions. As a result, many open questions remain on how best to apply meta‐analyses in the safety setting. This appraisal attempts to: (i) summarize the current guidelines for assessing individual studies, systematic reviews, and network meta‐analyses; (ii) describe several publications on safety meta‐analytic approaches; and (iii) present some of the questions and issues that arise with safety data. A number of gaps in the current quality guidelines are identified along with issues to consider when performing a safety meta‐analysis. While some work is ongoing to provide guidance to improve the quality of safety meta‐analyses, this review emphasizes the critical need for better reporting and increased transparency regarding safety data in the systematic review guidelines. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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