Advances in and limitations of up-and-down methodology - A precis of clinical use, study design, and dose estimation in anesthesia research
Sequential design methods for binary response variables exist for determination of the concentration or dose associated with the 50% point along the dose-response curve; the up-and-down method of Dixon and Mood is now commonly used in anesthesia research. There have been important developments in statistical methods that (1) allow the design of experiments for the measurement of the response at any point (quantile) along the dose-response curve, (2) demonstrate the risk of certain statistical methods commonly used in literature reports, (3) allow the estimation of the concentration or dose-the target dose-associated with the chosen quantile without the assumption of the symmetry of the tolerance distribution, and (4) set bounds on the probability of response at this target dose. This article details these developments, briefly surveys current use of the up-and-down method in anesthesia research, reanalyzes published reports using the up-and-down method for the study of the epidural relief of pain during labor, and discusses appropriate inferences from up-and-down method studies.
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