Systematic Reviews May Not Address Adverse Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Su Golder, PhD Department of Health Sciences University of York

Dr. Golder

Dr. Su Golder, PhD
Department of Health Sciences
University of York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Patients and providers need to know about the relative benefits and harms of an intervention. It is not just those adverse events deemed to be serious that are important but also those categorized as minor.

Systematic reviews are summaries of the evidence, often used in to inform guidelines and decision-making. It is common for systematic reviews to focus on the potential benefits of an intervention without addressing the adverse effects. This leads to bias and an incomplete picture of the evidence.

To aid transparency in systematic reviews, authors should published a protocol, describing what they intend to do. We look at protocols with a completed systematic review published in 2017 or 2018. We found that only 38% said that they would record adverse effects.

Equally worrying of those authors that stated in their protocol that they intended to look at adverse effects – only 65% fully reported the adverse outcome exactly as they set out to do.  Continue reading