Network meta-analysis for comparing treatment effects of multiple interventions: an introduction
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Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized trials have long been important synthesis tools for guiding evidence-based medicine. More recently, network meta-analyses, an extension of traditional meta-analyses enabling the comparison of multiple interventions, use new statistical methods to incorporate clinical evidence from both direct and indirect treatment comparisons in a network of treatments and associated trials. There is a need to provide education to ensure that core methodological considerations underlying network meta-analyses are well understood by readers and researchers to maximize their ability to appropriately interpret findings and appraise validity. Network meta-analyses are highly informative for assessing the comparative effects of multiple competing interventions in clinical practice and are a valuable tool for health technology assessment and comparative effectiveness research.
KeywordsNetwork meta-analysis Mixed-treatment comparisons Multiple-treatment comparisons Evidence synthesis Systematic reviews
D.M. is funded by a University Research Chair, University of Ottawa; B.H. is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research DSEN (Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network) New Investigator; and C.C. is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Program.
Conflict of interest
The authors do not have any conflict of interest.
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