Efficacy Assessments in Randomized Controlled Studies of Acute Therapy for Hereditary Angioedema
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- Caballero, T. J Clin Immunol (2012) 32: 1204. doi:10.1007/s10875-012-9734-8
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Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a rare disorder caused by a deficiency of C1 esterase inhibitor, characterized by recurrent, highly variable attacks of subcutaneous or submucosal edema that may affect multiple body sites. Clinical studies of acute HAE therapies have required the use of assessment tools to evaluate both pretreatment attack severity (baseline severity) and changes in symptom severity following treatment (treatment response). This article reviews the range of assessment tools used for efficacy determination of acute HAE therapies, based on a review of relevant clinical studies. Because the goal is relief of symptoms (rather than cure), patient-reported outcomes (PROs) form the basis of these tools. Tools used to evaluate baseline severity typically employ location-specific assessment of symptom severity, using either categorical descriptions (which may be converted into numerical variables) or a visual analog scale (VAS). Some studies define the initial or most symptomatic site as an “index” site for purposes of efficacy determination, while others (such as the Mean Symptom Complex Severity score used in clinical studies of ecallantide) use a composite score that reflects all sites. Assessment of treatment response typically employs the same tool(s) to evaluate baseline severity, and may be either time-based (e.g., time to achievement of minimal or no symptoms) or symptom-based (e.g., degree of symptom relief at predetermined time points). Although it is unlikely that therapies will be compared using identical assessment tools, prospective or retrospective validation ensures the adequacy and relevance of such tools, which should be taken into consideration when therapies are compared.