Medical Writing Vaccines and Immunotherapies The perils of the unknown: Missing data in clinical studies

Volume 27, Issue 1 - Vaccines and Immunotherapies

The perils of the unknown: Missing data in clinical studies

Abstract

The phenomenon of missing data is ubiquitous in clinical studies. Both the extent of missing data and the structure of missing data can introduce bias into study results and lead to wrong conclusions. Medical writers should be aware of the extent of missing data and should describe the methods used to deal with the issue. This article outlines some of the most commonly used statistical methods for handling missing data. The traditionally used last-observation-carried-forward (LOCF) method to fill data gaps is problematic in many ways. It is better to employ a method that reduces bias, such as multiple imputation (MI) or mixed-effects models for repeated measures (MMRM). Clinical study design can also help minimise the quantity of missing data.

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References

  1. Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). 2010. Guideline on missing data in confirmatory clinical trials. EMA/ CPMP/EWP/1776/99 Rev. 1.
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  3. Little RJ, D’Agostino R, Cohen ML, Dickersin K, Emerson SS, Farrar JT, et al. The prevention and treatment of missing data in clinical trials. N Engl J Med. 2012;367(14):1355–60.
  4. Mallinckrodt CH, Sanger TM, Dubé S, DeBrota DJ, Molenberghs G, Carroll RJ, et al. Assessing and interpreting treatment effects in longitudinal clinical trials with missing data. Biol Psychiatry. 2003; 53:754–60.
  5. National Research Council. 2010. The prevention and treatment of missing data in clinical trials. Panel on Handling Missing Data in Clinical Trials. Committee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  6. O’Neill RT, Temple R. The prevention and treatment of missing data in clinical trials: an FDA perspective on the importance of dealing with it. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2012;9,3:550–4.

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Articles

Vaccines and immunotherapies
President's Column
A history of EMWA
EMWA News
An introduction to vaccines and immunotherapies
Immuno-oncology: Harnessing our immune system to fight cancer
Changing methods to assess targeted therapies in oncology
HIV vaccine clinical trials: An overview
Allergen immunotherapy in the European regulatory environment
Pharmacovigilance for vaccines and immunotherapies
Addressing vaccine hesitancy in writing
Results of the 2017 EMWA salary survey
Lay writing: Strategies for improving assent forms
The perils of the unknown: Missing data in clinical studies
Medical writing in China: Trends and opportunities
PhD student: A medical writer in the making!
News from the EMA
Medical Communications
Journal Watch
In the Bookstores
The Webscout
Teaching Medical Writing
Good Writing Practice
Medical Devices
Getting Your Foot in the Door
Entering medical communications as a non-native English speaker
Out on Our Own
Lingua Franca and Beyond

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