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Recommendations for the Design and Analysis of Treatment Trials for Alcohol Use Disorders.

Witkiewitz K, Finney JW, Harris AH, Kivlahan DR, Kranzler HR. Recommendations for the Design and Analysis of Treatment Trials for Alcohol Use Disorders. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2015 Sep 1; 39(9):1557-70.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Over the past 60 years, the view that "alcoholism" is a disease for which the only acceptable goal of treatment is abstinence has given way to the recognition that alcohol use disorders (AUDs) occur on a continuum of severity, for which a variety of treatment options are appropriate. However, because the available treatments for AUDs are not effective for everyone, more research is needed to develop novel and more efficacious treatments to address the range of AUD severity in diverse populations. Here we offer recommendations for the design and analysis of alcohol treatment trials, with a specific focus on the careful conduct of randomized clinical trials of medications and nonpharmacological interventions for AUDs. METHODS: This paper provides a narrative review of the quality of published clinical trials and recommendations for the optimal design and analysis of treatment trials for AUDs. RESULTS: Despite considerable improvements in the design of alcohol clinical trials over the past 2 decades, many studies of AUD treatments have used faulty design features and statistical methods that are known to produce biased estimates of treatment efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: The published statistical and methodological literatures provide clear guidance on methods to improve clinical trial design and analysis. Consistent use of state-of-the-art design features and analytic approaches will enhance the internal and external validity of treatment trials for AUDs across the spectrum of severity. The ultimate result of this attention to methodological rigor is that better treatment options will be identified for patients with an AUD.





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