A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that early clinical trial results for drugs and devices are significantly exaggerated 37 percent of the time. According to Fares Alahdab, M.D., lead author of the study and a research fellow in Mayo Clinic’s Evidence-Based Practice Center, patients and physicians should be cautious when evaluating early results to avoid creating false hope and prevent potentially harmful effects of medications and other treatments.
The focus of this research was on clinical trials to evaluate drugs or devices used to treat chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. Results of this study were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The researchers reviewed thousands of research articles from the top 10 general medical journals, collecting 70 meta-analysis studies published from 2007 to 2015 that included 930 clinical trials. The researchers found that the first or second studies published reported effects that were an average of 2.67 times larger than subsequent studies published.