Continuous safety screens for randomized controlled clinical trials with blinded treatment information
Standard methods for testing safety data are needed to ensure the safe conduct of clinical trials. In particular, objective rules for reliably identifying unsafe treatments need to be put into place to help protect patients from unnecessary harm. DMCs are uniquely qualified to evaluate accumulating unblinded data and make recommendations about the continuing safe conduct of a trial. However, it is the trial leadership who must make the tough ethical decision about stopping a trial, and they could benefit from objective statistical rules that help them judge the strength of evidence contained in the blinded data. We design early stopping rules for harm that act as continuous safety screens for randomized controlled clinical trials with blinded treatment information, which could be used by anyone, including trial investigators (and trial leadership). A Bayesian framework, with emphasis on the likelihood function, is used to allow for continuous monitoring without adjusting for multiple comparisons. Close collaboration between the statistician and the clinical investigators will be needed in order to design safety screens with good operating characteristics. Though the math underlying this procedure may be computationally intensive, implementation of the statistical rules will be easy and the continuous screening provided will give suitably early warning when real problems were to emerge. Trial investigators and trial leadership need these safety screens to help them to effectively monitor the ongoing safe conduct of clinical trials with blinded data.
Ball, Greg, "Continuous safety screens for randomized controlled clinical trials with blinded treatment information" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3330696.