Graphical tools for network meta-analysis in STATA

PLoS One. 2013 Oct 3;8(10):e76654. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076654. eCollection 2013.

Abstract

Network meta-analysis synthesizes direct and indirect evidence in a network of trials that compare multiple interventions and has the potential to rank the competing treatments according to the studied outcome. Despite its usefulness network meta-analysis is often criticized for its complexity and for being accessible only to researchers with strong statistical and computational skills. The evaluation of the underlying model assumptions, the statistical technicalities and presentation of the results in a concise and understandable way are all challenging aspects in the network meta-analysis methodology. In this paper we aim to make the methodology accessible to non-statisticians by presenting and explaining a series of graphical tools via worked examples. To this end, we provide a set of STATA routines that can be easily employed to present the evidence base, evaluate the assumptions, fit the network meta-analysis model and interpret its results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antimanic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic*
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Antimanic Agents
  • Antirheumatic Agents

Grant support

AC, DM and GS received funding from the European Research Council (IMMA 260559 project). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.