Henry Drysdale, BSc; Ioan Milosevic, MSci; Ben Goldacre, MBBS; on behalf of the COMPare Team
Disclosures: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=L15-0633.
Drysdale H, Milosevic I, Goldacre B, . Reported Outcomes of the Alexander Technique Lessons or Acupuncture Sessions for Persons With Chronic Neck Pain Article. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164:375-376. doi: 10.7326/L15-0633
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(5):375-376.
TO THE EDITOR:
MacPherson and colleagues' article (1) reports outcomes that differ from those initially registered (2). Three primary outcomes (1 score at 3 time points) were prespecified. Although the article reports data for all 3 time points, it incorrectly states that the primary end point was at 12 months when the registry entry gives no such ranking. In addition, 17 secondary outcomes (9 outcomes to be measured at between 1 and 3 time points each) were prespecified; of these, 6 are reported in the paper, whereas 11 are not reported anywhere in the publication. Furthermore, the article reports various nonprespecified analytic approaches, such as the use of regression models, and declares only some of these as novel.
Annals of Internal Medicine endorses the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) guidelines (3) on best practice in trial reporting. To reduce the risk for selective outcome reporting, CONSORT includes a commitment that all prespecified primary and secondary outcomes should be reported and that, where new outcomes are reported, it should be made clear that these were added at a later date, and when and why this was done should be explained.
The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Outcome Monitoring Project (COMPare) (4) aims to review all trials published going forward in a sample of top journals, including Annals. When outcomes have been incorrectly reported, we are writing letters to correct the record and audit the extent of this problem in the hope of reducing its prevalence. These trials have been published and are being used to inform decision making, and this comment is a brief correction on a matter of fact obtained by comparing 2 pieces of published literature. We are maintaining a Web site (www.COMPare-Trials.org) containing our letters and all our underlying data. We welcome specific feedback on any trial.
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