JA-WP5 EUnetHTA Joint Action (2010-12)
2013 - PDF

To make the best use of available evidence on the efficacy of a treatment, it is common to combine results from several randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in a meta-analysis. This guideline focuses on the methods available for treatment comparisons. Their strengths and limitations are discussed and recommendations are provided in order to support Relative Effectiveness Assessors in their activity. The planning stages of a systematic review are not covered here.

Direct comparison is generally thought to provide the best evidence of relative effectiveness and is in general recommended. However, the use of multiple treatment comparisons allows the consideration of a larger evidence base. When both direct and indirect evidence are available, it may be pragmatic to investigate both first separately and then pool the results. Although Bucher’s method of adjusted indirect comparison is the most computationally straightforward of the multiple treatment methods, Bayesian MTC can be used to analyse very complex networks and can incorporate meta-regression to include study-level covariates. The choice of methodology is ultimately context specific and should be appropriate to the data available.

Please find the guideline on direct and indict comparison at the bottom of this page

Full list of guidelines

This document is part of the JA1 Final Technical Report as Deliverable "D3-2 WP5_3a7_Direct and indirect comparisons".
NOTE: For the full Technical Report, please follow this link