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ERIC Number: EJ1109011
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1759-2879
Assessing Key Assumptions of Network Meta-Analysis: A Review of Methods
Donegan, Sarah; Williamson, Paula; D'Alessandro, Umberto; Tudur Smith, Catrin
Research Synthesis Methods, v4 n4 p291-323 Dec 2013
Background: Homogeneity and consistency assumptions underlie network meta-analysis (NMA). Methods exist to assess the assumptions but they are rarely and poorly applied. We review and illustrate methods to assess homogeneity and consistency. Methods: Eligible articles focussed on indirect comparison or NMA methodology. Articles were sought by hand-searching and scanning references (March 2013). Assumption assessment methods described in the articles were reviewed, and applied to compare anti-malarial drugs. Results: 116 articles were included. Methods to assess homogeneity were: comparing characteristics across trials; comparing trial-specific treatment effects; using hypothesis tests or statistical measures; applying fixed-effect and random-effects pair-wise meta-analysis; and investigating treatment effect-modifiers. Methods to assess consistency were: comparing characteristics; investigating treatment effect-modifiers; comparing outcome measurements in the referent group; node-splitting; inconsistency modelling; hypothesis tests; back transformation; multidimensional scaling; a two-stage approach; and a graph-theoretical method. Conclusions: Presently, we advocate applying existing assessment methods collectively to gain the best understanding possible regarding whether assumptions are reasonable. In our example, consistency was questionable; therefore the NMA results may be unreliable.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A