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The number needed to treat cheap 250 mg keppra with mastercard symptoms for pregnancy, often referred to as the NNT order discount keppra medications given for uti, is the number of patients who would have to be treated with an intervention for 1 Antiepileptic drugs Page 8 of 117 Final Report Update 2 Drug Effectiveness Review Project additional patient to benefit (experience a positive outcome or avoid a negative outcome) cheap 500mg keppra with amex treatment multiple sclerosis. The absolute risk reduction is used to calculate the number needed to treat. Systematic reviews weigh the quality of the evidence, allowing a greater contribution from studies that meet high methodological standards that reduce the likelihood of biased results. In general, for questions about the relative benefit of a drug, the results of well-executed, randomized, controlled trials are considered better evidence than results of cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies. In turn, these studies provide better evidence than uncontrolled trials and case series. For questions about tolerability and harms, observational study designs may provide important information that is not available from controlled trials. Within the hierarchy of observational studies, cohort designs are preferred when conducted well and for assessing a common outcome. Case-control studies are preferred only when the outcome measure is rare and the study is well conducted. Systematic reviews pay particular attention to the generalizability of efficacy studies performed in controlled or academic settings. Efficacy studies provide the best information about how a drug performs in a controlled setting. These studies attempt to tightly control potential confounding factors and bias; however, for this reason the results of efficacy studies may not be applicable to many, and sometimes to most, patients seen in everyday practice. Most efficacy studies use strict eligibility criteria that may exclude patients based on their age, sex, adherence to treatment, or severity of illness. For many drug classes, including the antipsychotics, unstable or severely impaired patients are often excluded from trials. In addition, efficacy studies frequently exclude patients who have comorbid diseases, meaning diseases other than the one under study. Efficacy studies may also use dosing regimens and follow-up protocols that may be impractical in typical practice settings. And these studies often restrict options that are of value in actual practice, such as combination therapies or switching to other drugs. Efficacy studies also often examine the short-term effects of drugs that in practice are used for much longer periods of time. Finally, efficacy studies tend to assess effects by using objective measures that do not capture all of the benefits and harms of a drug or do not reflect the outcomes that are most important to patients and their families. Systematic reviews highlight studies that reflect actual clinical effectiveness in unselected patients and community practice settings. Effectiveness studies conducted in primary care or office-based settings use less stringent eligibility criteria, more often assess health outcomes, and have longer follow-up periods than most efficacy studies. The results of effectiveness studies are more applicable to the “average” patient than results from the highly selected populations in efficacy studies. Examples of effectiveness outcomes include quality of life, frequency or duration of hospitalizations, social function, and the ability to work. These outcomes are more important to patients, family, and care providers than surrogate or intermediate measures, such as scores based on psychometric scales. For example, a study might use very narrow inclusion criteria like an efficacy study, but, like an effectiveness study, might examine flexible dosing regimens, have a long follow-up period, and measure quality of life and functional outcomes. For this report we sought evidence about outcomes that are important to patients and would normally be considered appropriate for an effectiveness study. However, many of the studies that reported these outcomes were short-term and used strict inclusion criteria to select eligible patients. For these reasons, it was neither possible nor desirable to exclude evidence based on these characteristics. Labeling each study as either an efficacy or an effectiveness study, while convenient, is of limited value; it is more useful to consider whether the patient Antiepileptic drugs Page 9 of 117 Final Report Update 2 Drug Effectiveness Review Project population, interventions, time frame, and outcomes are relevant to one’s practice or to a particular patient. Studies across the continuum from efficacy to effectiveness can be useful in comparing the clinical value of different drugs. Effectiveness studies are more applicable to practice, but efficacy studies are a useful scientific standard for determining whether characteristics of different drugs are related to their effects on disease. Systematic reviews thoroughly cover the efficacy data in order to ensure that decision-makers can assess the scope, quality, and relevance of the available data. This thoroughness is not intended to obscure the fact that efficacy data, no matter how much of it there is, may have limited applicability to practice. Clinicians can judge the relevance of the study results to their practice and should note where there are gaps in the available scientific information. Unfortunately, for many drugs there exist few or no effectiveness studies and many efficacy studies. Yet clinicians must decide on treatment for many patients who would not have been included in controlled trials and for whom the effectiveness and tolerability of the different drugs are uncertain. Systematic reviews indicate whether or not there exists evidence that drugs differ in their effects in various subgroups of patients, but they do not attempt to set a standard for how results of controlled trials should be applied to patients who would not have been eligible for them. With or without an evidence report, these decisions must be informed by clinical judgment. In the context of development of recommendations for clinical practice, systematic reviews are useful because they define the strengths and limits of the evidence, clarifying whether assertions about the value of an intervention are based on strong evidence from clinical studies. Judgment, reasoning, and applying one’s values under conditions of uncertainty must also play a role in decision making. Users of an evidence report must also keep in mind that not proven does not mean proven not; that is, if the evidence supporting an assertion is insufficient, it does not mean the assertion is untrue. The quality of the evidence on effectiveness is a key component, but not the only component, in making decisions about clinical policy. Additional criteria include acceptability to physicians and patients, potential for unrecognized harm, applicability of the evidence to practice, and consideration of equity and justice. Scope and Key Questions The main goal of this report was to compare the effectiveness and adverse event profiles of antiepileptic drugs in the treatment of bipolar disorder, migraine, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia. The Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center wrote preliminary Key Questions, identifying the populations, interventions, outcomes of interest, and, based on these, the eligibility criteria for studies. A draft of these questions and inclusion and exclusion criteria were posted on the Drug Effectiveness Review Project website for public comment. The draft was reviewed and revised by representatives of organizations participating in the Drug Effectiveness Review Project, taking into consideration comments received from the public. The participating organizations of Drug Effectiveness Review Project are responsible for ensuring that the scope of the review reflects the populations, drugs, and outcome measures of interest to clinicians and patients. The participating organizations approved the following Key Questions to guide the review for this updated report: Antiepileptic drugs Page 10 of 117 Final Report Update 2 Drug Effectiveness Review Project 1.
Y. Sibur-Narad. North Georgia College and State University, the Military College of Georgia.