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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 77-81

Completeness of reporting and outcome switching in trials published in Indian journals from 2017 to 2019: A cross-sectional study

Department of Pharmacology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kiran Warrier
Department of Pharmacology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, Bengaluru - 560 002, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/picr.PICR_64_20

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Context: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are among the cornerstones for generation of high-quality clinical evidence. However, incomplete or biased reporting of trials can hamper the process of review of trials and their results. Outcome switching, intentional, or otherwise leads to biased reporting and can result in false inferences. Aims: The aim of this study was to analyze the completeness of reporting Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) 2010 checklist items and detect if outcome switching had occurred. Settings and Design: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the department of pharmacology. Methods: Online editions of journals published by the Indian association of medical specialties from 2017 to 2019 were accessed, and the full-text versions of the published RCTs in them were downloaded. Reporting of each item in the CONSORT checklist was recorded. The effect of trial registration and CONSORT endorsement on reporting of key methodological parameters was also determined. Protocols of registered trials were accessed, and the outcome switching was assessed. Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data. Results: Average completeness of reporting has significantly improved from 2017 to 2019. Major areas of underreporting were generalizability, protocol availability, trial registration, date of recruitment, allocation concealment, and the patient flow diagram. CONSORT endorsing journals had worse, whereas registered trials had better reporting of key methodological indicators. No overt switching of outcomes was observed in 84 out of 86 registered trials where trial protocols were available online for comparison. Conclusions: Quality of clinical trial reporting in the Indian medical journals has improved but remains inadequate. CONSORT nonendorsement prevents completeness of trial reporting.

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