Developing a register of randomised controlled trials in primary care

BMJ. 1993 Apr 3;306(6882):897-900. doi: 10.1136/bmj.306.6882.897.


Objective: To determine the number, nature, site of publication, and feasibility of identifying randomised controlled trials relevant to primary care.

Design: Review of literature using three strategies: approaching journal editors, Medline search, and manual search of individual journals.

Setting: Journals containing publications of studies based in primary care.

Main outcome measures: The number, site of publication, and subject of trials identified.

Results: No journal had a system which enabled identification of all the randomised controlled trials it published. 266 trials relevant to primary care were identified from 110 different journals during 1987-91 by Medline. Of these, only 62 trials were published in primary care journals. Hand searching of seven major primary care research journals showed that between 13% and 38% of the trials had been missed by the Medline search. Of the trials identified, 47 (18%) were concerned with mental disease (including neuroses, tobacco misuse and alcohol misuse) and 43 (16%) were concerned with hypertension.

Conclusion: Given the diversity of publication sources and topics, this supports the need for a centrally based register of randomised controlled trials that may be relevant to primary care overviews in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Registries*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States