CONSORT extension for reporting N-of-1 trials for traditional Chinese medicine (CENT for TCM) : Recommendations, explanation and elaboration

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Oct:46:180-188. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.08.014. Epub 2019 Aug 25.


Background: N-of-1 trial is a desired and appropriate approach to assessing the efficacy and safety of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) interventions. There have been an increasing number of N-of-1 trials for TCM published. However, a lack of preferred reporting guidance led in the general poor reporting quality of these trials. Due to the unique characteristics of TCM, the working group developed this CONSORT Extension for reporting N-of-1 Trials for Traditional Chinese Medicine (CENT for TCM) to assist TCM researchers in reporting N-of-1 trials for TCM.

Methods: We registered CENT for TCM at the EQUATOR (Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research) Network (available at The development was a comprehensive process through collection of the initial reporting items, two-round scientific Delphi consensus survey with 17 panelists, revision and formation of the final reporting checklist.

Results: The checklist includes 25 items within six domains, eight items in which were extended and elaborated on the items of the CENT 2015 checklist. Explanation of the items were listed adequately considering the nature of TCM, introducing the concept of TCM syndrome differentiation and TCM interventions.

Conclusions: CENT for TCM can be used to assess the completeness of the reporting of N-of-1 trials for TCM. The working group expect that CENT for TCM could be a practical tool to enhance the comprehensiveness and transparency of the design, implementation and reporting of N-of-1 trials for TCM.

Keywords: CONSORT; N-of-1 trial; Reporting guidance; Traditional Chinese medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Checklist / standards
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / standards*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Research Report / standards*