The elderly were under-represented in osteoarthritis clinical trials.
ABSTRACT Osteoarthritis is the most common disease affecting joints in the elderly. We aimed to evaluate if elderly patients are properly represented in clinical trials of diverse osteoarthritis interventions.
Clinical trials of osteoarthritis interventions were retrieved from Cochrane Library systematic reviews (2006, issue 2). We examined the age distribution of the trial participants and eligibility criteria.
We analyzed data from 219 eligible trials from 18 systematic reviews. The average mean age of the participants was 63 years. Only 13 trials (6.4%) had a mean age between 71 and 80 years and only one trial had a mean age exceeding 80 years. Among trials where the age range of participants was available or could be approximately inferred, we estimated that 66 (38%) trials had not included any patients over 80 years old. Only 23 trials specifically excluded patients over 70 based on reported eligibility criteria, but 168 trials excluded patients with various comorbidities and 142 trials excluded patients receiving other specific treatments.
Elderly patients are considerably under-represented in clinical trials of osteoarthritis. This causes an important deficit in the utility, relevance, and generalizability of trial results for this very common condition.
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ABSTRACT: Studies have documented the underrepresentation of women and blacks in clinical trials, and their recruitment is now federally mandated. However, little is known about the level of participation of elderly patients. We determined the rates of enrollment of patients 65 years of age or older in trials of treatment for cancer. We analyzed data on 16,396 patients consecutively enrolled in 164 Southwest Oncology Group treatment trials between 1993 and 1996 according to sex, race (black or white), and age under 65 years or 65 or older. These rates were compared with the corresponding rates in the general population of patients with cancer, derived from the 1990 U.S. Census and from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program for the period from 1992 through 1994. Fifteen types of cancer were included in the analysis. The overall proportions of women and blacks enrolled in Southwest Oncology Group trials were similar to or the same as the estimated proportions in the U.S. population of patients with cancer (women, 41 percent and 43 percent; blacks, 10 percent and 10 percent, respectively). In contrast, patients 65 years of age or older were underrepresented overall (25 percent vs. 63 percent, P<0.001) and in trials involving all 15 types of cancer except lymphoma. The underrepresentation was particularly notable in trials of treatment for breast cancer (9 percent vs. 49 percent, P<0.001). The findings were similar when data on patients who were 70 years of age or older were analyzed, when 15 trials that excluded older patients were eliminated from the analysis, and when community-based enrollment was analyzed separately from enrollment at academic centers. There is substantial underrepresentation of patients 65 years of age or older in studies of treatment for cancer. The reasons should be clarified, and policies adopted to correct this underrepresentation.New England Journal of Medicine 12/1999; 341(27):2061-7. · 51.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To investigate the exclusion from trials of women, older people and minority ethnic groups, focusing on two drug exemplars, statins and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Medical and ethical databases. Workshops with stakeholders. Literature was reviewed on exclusions in healthcare research and three workshops were held with stakeholders. Twenty-seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of statins use for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 25 NSAIDs trials for pain in osteoarthritis (OA) were analysed. Using a Scottish cohort with record-linkage, profiling was carried out for 3188 people needing secondary prevention for CHD (1993-1996), ascertaining the independent effects of statins, and 131,410 people dispensed NSAIDs (1989-1996), examining adverse effects. Routine data sources were accessed to profile the need for secondary prevention of CHD in England and usage was estimated by consulting published surveys. The Somerset and Avon Survey of Health (SASH) 1996-97 and published data were accessed for information on potential need and usage of NSAIDs in OA. For both drugs, the socio-demographic profiles of trial samples, the population in potential need and those on treatment were compared. An evidence synthesis was produced to clarify the effects of statins on women and older people and the relationship of absolute effectiveness outcomes with underlying risk levels of disease events was modelled, examining the likely effects of trial exclusions. The average age of statins trial participants was 58.5 years; only 16.3% were women. Statins reduced cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence by about 25% in both men and women. Older people up to 75 years of age also benefited. Meta-analysis and two landmark trials confirmed these results. The average age of NSAIDs trial participants was 61.9 years and women were well represented (68.5%). Gastrointestinal (GI) adverse events were commonly reported, but renal side-effects were not. Outcomes were seldom reported according to socio-demographic group. For both drugs, USA trials were more inclusive than UK/European trials. Ethnicity was not well reported for either drug. Some 23% of the cohort were treated with statins. Users were younger than non-statins users (but no more likely to be male) and had superior outcomes. High current exposure to NSAIDs elevated the risk of GI side-effects by about 50% versus no current exposure and renal impairment risk by nearly 140%. Side-effect risk increased with age; being female diminished risk. Approximately 537,000 incident cases of CVD would qualify for statins use in England each year. Women constitute 45% of this population with need, two-thirds of whom are aged 65 years or over. Need varies by ethnic group. No sex bias in prescribing statins was detected, but use was commoner in younger people. For NSAIDs, 6.3% of adults aged 35+ years reported hip and/or knee pain associated with OA; 3.9% of adults used prescribed analgesics for this and they were more likely to be women and to be >65 years old. For statins, women formed almost half of the 'with need' and 'on treatment' populations, but were markedly under-represented in trials. Those aged 65+ years formed nearly two-thirds of the 'with need' population, but only one-fifth of trial samples, and were less likely to be treated than younger subjects. For NSAIDs, women formed similar proportions. Associations of side-effects with socio-demographic factors was revealed in cohort data but not in trials. The issue of exclusion from trials of women, older people and ethnic minorities has been relatively neglected in the UK research community, and there is confusion about diversity issues. Under-representation occurs, but in drug trials at least this may not always affect the external validity of relative effect estimates. However, measures of absolute effectiveness, absolute harm and cost-effectiveness are associated with underlying risk levels in different socio-demographic groups. Under-representation will therefore bias absolute effect estimates. The following areas are suggested for future research: multi-disciplinary assessment of realistic options for trialists to address the issue of exclusions; clarification of the use of ethnic categories in health research and of the implications of the different dimensions of ageing and sex/gender; identification of barriers and facilitators to the involvement of different population groups in research, further investigation of the susceptibility of older men to NSAID adverse events, and the development of a 'register of registries and databases' and exploration of how linked health information systems in the UK could be improved.Health technology assessment (Winchester, England) 10/2005; 9(38):iii-iv, ix-x, 1-152. · 4.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An abstract is unavailable. This article is available as HTML full text and PDF.Orthopaedic Nursing 06/2007; 26(4):256–257. · 0.69 Impact Factor