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Can we improve the performance and reporting of investigator-initiated clinical trials? Rheumatoid arthritis as an example


Investigator-initiated trials, some of which have been referred to as comparative effectiveness trials, pragmatic trials, or strategy trials, are sometimes considered to be of greater clinical importance than industry-driven trials, because they address important but unresolved clinical questions that differ from the questions asked in industry-driven trials. Regulatory authorities have provided methodological guidance for industry-driven trials for the approval of new treatments, but such guidance is less clear for investigator-initiated trials. The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) task force for the update of the recommendations for the management of rheumatoid arthritis has critically looked at the methodological quality and conduct of many investigator-initiated trials, and has identified a number of concerns. In this Viewpoint paper, we highlight commonly encountered issues that are discussed using examples of well-known investigator-initiated trials. These issues cover three themes: (1) design choice (superiority vs non-inferiority designs); (2) statistical power and (3) convenience reporting. Since we acknowledge the importance of investigator-initiated research, we also propose a shortlist of points-to-consider when designing, performing and reporting investigator-initiated trials.

  • Treatment
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Anti-TNF

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