Resources for Clinical Research in the JID
- Topical drugs are often used as first-line treatment for dermatological conditions. Depending on the disease and the drug, three main designs can be used for randomized controlled trials assessing topical drugs: the classical individual parallel design, the cluster randomized design, and designs allowing within-individual comparisons, including the cross-over design (in which patients are randomized to a sequence of interventions) and the within-person design (also called the split-body design).
- When making treatment decisions, it is often necessary to consider the relative efficacy and safety of multiple potential interventions. Unlike traditional pairwise meta-analysis, which allows for a comparison between two interventions by pooling head-to-head data, network meta-analysis (NMA) allows for the simultaneous comparison of more than two interventions and for comparisons to be made between interventions that have not been directly compared in a randomized controlled trial. Given these advantages, NMAs are being published in the medical literature with increasing frequency.
- Clinical trials have several important limitations for evaluating the safety of new medications, leading to many adverse events not being identified until the postmarketing period. Descriptive studies, including case reports, case series, cross-sectional, and ecologic studies, help identify potential safety signals and generate hypotheses. Further research using analytic study methods, including case-control studies and cohort studies, are necessary to determine if an association truly exists and to better understand the potential for causation.