Reporting randomised clinical trials of analgesics after traumatic or orthopaedic surgery is inadequate: a systematic review

BMC Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Jan 12;10:2. doi: 10.1186/1472-6904-10-2.


Background: Several randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of analgesics in postoperative pain after traumatic or orthopaedic surgery (TOS) have been published, but no studies have assessed the quality of these reports. We aimed to examine the quality of reporting RCTs on analgesics for postoperative pain after TOS.

Methods: Reports of RCTs assessing analgesics in postoperative pain after TOS were systematically searched from electronic databases. The quality of reports was assessed using the CONSORT checklist (scoring range from 0 to 22). The quality was considered poor when scoring was 12 or lesser. The publication year and the impact factor of journals were recorded.

Results: A total of 92 reports of RCTs were identified and 69 (75%) scored 12 or lesser in CONSORT checklist (range 5-17). The mean (SD) CONSORT score of all reports was 10.6 (2.7). Missing CONSORT items included primary and secondary outcome measures (11%), the specific objectives and hypothesis definition (12%), the sample size calculation (12%), the dates defining the periods of recruitment (12%), the discussion of external validity of findings (14%), the allocation sequence generation (24%), and the interpretation of potential bias or imprecision of results (25%). There was a little improvement in CONSORT scores over time (r = 0.62; p < 0.001) and with impact factor of journals (r = 0.30; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Quality of reporting RCTs on analgesics after TOS is poor. Reporting of those RCTs should be improved according to methodological standard checklists in the next years.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Orthopedics*
  • Patient Selection
  • Publishing
  • Quality Control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Review Literature as Topic


  • Analgesics
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors