Developing better methods of 'blinding' doctors and patients in clinical trials
When trials are carried out to assess the effectiveness of a drug, it is an important to have a control group of patients who are not given the drug. Neither the researchers nor the patients should know who is in the treatment group and who is in the control group. In other words they should be 'blinded'. There are different ways in which this blinding can be achieved. French researchers carefully studied all the reports of drug trials that involved blinding, published in the course of one year. They have produced a classification of the methods used.
The findings of the review should lead to a better understanding of different blinding methods and their effectiveness. This will help researchers design better trials in the future, and also help readers interpret the quality of trials. The authors of the review also say that blinding methods are often not described in enough detail in published scientific papers. They recommend that guidelines for the reporting of trials are improved.
* * * * * * * * EMBARGO: MONDAY, 30 October, 5 P.M. PDT * * * * * * * * *
PLEASE MENTION THE OPEN-ACCESS JOURNAL PLoS MEDICINE (www.plosmedicine.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THE FREELY-AVAILABLE TEXT. THANK YOU.
All works published in PLoS Medicine are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Citation: Boutron I, Estellat C, Guittet L, Dechartres A, Sackett DL, et al. (2006) Methods of blinding in reports of randomized controlled trials assessing pharmacologic treatments: A systematic review. PLoS Med 3(10): e425.
PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030425
PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-03-10-boutron.pdf
University Paris 7
46 rue Huchard
Paris, 75018 France
+33 1 40.25.73. 87
About PLoS Medicine
PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.