Reporting of noninferiority and equivalence randomized trials for major prostaglandins: a systematic survey of the ophthalmology literature

Trials. 2008 Dec 3;9:69. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-9-69.


Background: Standards for reporting clinical trials have improved the transparency of patient-important research. The Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) published an extension to address noninferiority and equivalence trials. We aimed to determine the reporting quality of prostaglandin noninferiority and equivalence trials in the treatment of glaucoma.

Methods: We searched, independently and in duplicate, 6 electronic databases for eligible trials evaluating prostaglandins. We abstracted data on reporting of methodological criteria, including reporting of per-protocol [PP] and intention-to-treat [ITT] analysis, sample size estimation with margins, type of statistical analysis conducted, efficacy summaries, and use of hyperemia measures.

Results: Trials involving the four major prostaglandin groups (latanoprost, travoprost, bimatoprost, unoprostone) were analyzed. We included 36 noninferiority and 11 equivalence trials. Seventeen out of the included 47 trials (36%, 95% Confidence Intervals [CI]: 24-51) were crossover designs. Only 3 studies (6%, 95% CI: 2-17) reported a presented results of both ITT and PP populations. Twelve studies (26%, 95% CI: 15-39) presented only ITT results but mentioned that PP population had similar results. Thirteen trials (28%, 95% CI: 17-42) presented only PP results with no mention of ITT population results while 17 studies (36%, 95% CI: 24-51) presented only ITT results with no mention of PP population results. Thirty-four (72%, 95% CI: 58-83) of studies adequately described their margin of noninferiority/equivalence. Sequence generation was reported in 22/47 trials (47%, 95% CI: 33-61). Allocation concealment was reported in only 10/47 (21%, 95% CI: 12-35) of the trials. Thirty-five studies (74%, 95% CI: 60-85) employed masking of at least two groups, 4/47 (9%, 95% CI: 3-20) masked only patients and 8/47 (17%, 95% CI: 9-30) were open label studies. Eight (17%, 95% CI: 9-30) of the 47 trials employed a combined test of noninferiority and superiority. We also found 6 differing methods of evaluating hyperemia.

Conclusion: The quality of reporting noninferiority/equivalency trials in the field of glaucoma is markedly heterogeneous. The adoption of the extended CONSORT statement by journals will potentially improve the transparency of this field.