Background: Three large trials of fluoxetine for stroke recovery (FOCUS (fluoxetine or control under supervision), AFFINITY (the Assessment oF FluoxetINe In sTroke recovery) and EFFECTS (Efficacy oF Fluoxetine-a randomisEd Controlled Trial in Stroke)) have been collaboratively designed with the same basic protocol to facilitate an individual patient data analysis (IPDM). The statistical analysis plan for the three individual trials has already been reported in Trials, including a brief description of the IPDM. In this protocol, we describe in detail how we will perform the IPDM.
Methods/design: Data from EFFECTS and AFFINITY will be transferred securely to the FOCUS statistician, who will perform a one-stage IPDM and a two-stage IPDM. For the one-stage IPDM, data will be combined into a single data set and the same analyses performed as described for the individual trials. For the two-stage IPDM, the results for the three individual trials will be combined using fixed effects meta-analyses. The primary and secondary outcome domains for the IPDM are the same as for individual trials. We will also perform analyses according to several subgroups including country of recruitment, ethnicity and trial. We will also explore the effects of fluoxetine on our primary and secondary outcomes in subgroups defined by combinations of characteristics. We also describe additional research questions that will be addressed using the combined data set, and published subsequently, including predictors of important post-stroke problems such as seizures, low mood and bone fractures.
Discussion: An IPDM of our three large trials of fluoxetine for stroke recovery will allow us to provide the most precise estimates of any risks and benefits of fluoxetine vs placebo, to detect reliably a smaller overall effect size than those detectable by the individual trials, to better determine the effects of fluoxetine vs placebo in subgroups of patients and outcomes and to broaden the generalisability of the results. Also, we may identify differences in treatment effects between studies.
Trial registration: FOCUS: ISRCTN ISRCTN83290762 . Registered on 23 May 2012. EudraCT 2011-005616-29 . Registered on 3 February 2012.
Affinity: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12611000774921 . Registered on 22 July 2011.
Effects: ISRCTN ISRCTN13020412 . Registered on 19 December 2014. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02683213 . Registered on 2 February 2016. EudraCT 2011-006130-16 . Registered on 8 August 2014.
Keywords: AFFINITY; EFFECTS; FOCUS; Individual patient data meta-analysis; Recovery; Stroke.