Management and conduct of randomized controlled trials.

Maryland Medical Research Institute, 600 Wyndhurst Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.
Epidemiologic Reviews (Impact Factor: 7.33). 02/2002; 24(1):12-25. DOI: 10.1093/epirev/24.1.12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In preparing to undertake a clinical trial, it may be helpful to keep in mind Fredrickson's description of clinical trials (31): "Field trials are indispensable. They will continue to be an ordeal. They lack glamour, they strain our resources and patience, and they protract the moment of truth to excruciating limits. Still, they are among the most challenging tests of our skills. I have no doubt that when the problem is well chosen, the study is appropriately designed, and that when all the populations concerned are made aware of the route and the goal, the reward can be commensurate with the effort. If, in major medical dilemmas, the alternative is to pay the costs of perpetual uncertainty, have we really any choice?"

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    ABSTRACT: SummAry According to epidemiologic reports, the harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs has increased among the Mexican population. This use is associated to several risks and issues that affect public health and the public well-being of the country. In this article it is acknowledged the need for development of treatment models and interventions whose therapeutic value is demonstrated by scientific evidence, that respond to the attention needs of the population affected by sub-stance use in our country and that can be generalized in community clinical practice. In clinical research, randomized controlled clinical trials (RCT's) are the "gold standard" to demonstrate the effect of a therapeutic intervention. A randomized controlled clinical trial is a prospective study in which the effect, value and safety of one or various experi-mental interventions are tested against a "control" intervention in hu-man subjects. Acknowledging that in Mexico there is a lack of research on addiction treatment that is compliant with all the requirements to be considered as an RCT, this article presents some methodological and ethical considerations that are neccesary for their design and conduc-tion. These considerations include from the establishment of a relevant research question and objectives, adequate study design, develop-ment of strategies for data management, statistical analysis, monitor-ing of interventions, safety monitoring and research quality assurance and protection of human subjects.
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    ABSTRACT: Monitoring the conduct of clinical trials is recommended by International Conference of Harmonisation Good Clinical Practice (ICH GCP) guidelines and is integral to trial quality assurance. On-site monitoring, that is, visiting trial sites, is one part of this process but little is known about the procedures that are performed in practice. To examine and summarise published on-site monitoring methods for health-care clinical trials, including evaluations of their benefits and costs to trials. A systematic literature review identified all articles reporting the methods and practices of on-site monitoring of randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Articles were categorised into (1) reports from research groups and organisations, (2) reports from individual RCTs, (3) randomised trials of on-site monitoring interventions, (4) cost simulations, or (5) surveys of trial staff and monitors. Data were extracted on the characteristics of the trials and groups reporting on-site monitoring (e.g., geographical origin, sponsor, and trial focus). Information from articles in categories (1)-(3) was summarised on the frequency and scope of site monitoring visits, monitoring team size and composition, activities during site visits, and reporting structures. Evaluations of the benefits and disadvantages of on-site monitoring were examined for all included articles. In total, 57 articles were identified, comprising 21 articles about the on-site monitoring practices of 16 research groups, 30 articles from 26 RCTs, 1 on-site monitoring intervention RCT, 2 cost simulations, and 3 surveys. Publications in categories (1)-(3), mostly originated from the United States (33/52, 63%) or Europe (15/52, 29%), were predominantly describing non-commercial organisations or trials (45/52, 87%), with heart disease (9/26, 35%) or cancer (5/26, 19%) the commonest focus of individual RCTs. The frequency of visits ranged from every 6-8 weeks up to once every 3 years, with mostly all trial sites visited. The number of monitors visiting a site varied between 1 and 8. The most common on-site monitoring activity was verifying source data and consent forms, with a focus on data accuracy. Only six articles evaluated their on-site monitoring process, with improvements observed in recruitment rates and protocol adherence but with direct costs and staff time viewed as the major disadvantages. The on-site monitoring RCT ended prematurely so preventing full assessment. Trialists and organisations may utilise additional unpublished on-site monitoring systems. The varied terminology used to describe monitoring may have limited identification of some relevant articles. This review demonstrated that on-site monitoring is utilised in trials worldwide but systems vary considerably with little evidence to support practice. These on-site monitoring practices need to be evaluated empirically, including costs, to provide robust evidence for the contribution of site visits to trial performance and quality.
    Clinical Trials 01/2013; 10(1):104-24. DOI:10.1177/1740774512467405 · 1.94 Impact Factor


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