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clinical trials

Flibanserin and Trip: Making evidence easy

Our previous post Flibanserin and blogs highlighted how adding blogs to the Trip index can be really useful.  But the search for flibanserin on Trip highlights lots of issues.

As you can see from the above image the ‘Ongoing clinical trials’ filter shows 14 closed trials (these are trials that are no longer recruiting) and that there are 8 controlled trials.  So, we can spot a shortfall of 6.  So, is that an issue?  It can be as it can suggest hidden trails, which are never a good thing.  I had a superficial look and found a couple of things of interest:

  • A number of the closed trials were halted for ‘administrative’ reasons.  I’m not sure how satisfactory that is.
  • Our controlled trials are identified via a filter and this has over-identified controlled trials and there are only actually 6 controlled trials in our index.  So, while we over-identified some, we possibly under-identified others.

Irrespective of the above points Trip makes it incredibly easy to spot potential publication bias.  If you’re interested in unbiased evidence this feature alone is very useful!

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Flibanserin and blogs

‘Female viagra’: FDA panel backs Flibanserin with safety restriction

Whenever I see stories about new drugs published in the newspapers I turn to Trip to see what we’ve got on the topic. It turns out we’ve got relatively little.  The top trial (SNOWDROP trial) concludes:

In naturally postmenopausal women with HSDD, flibanserin, compared with placebo, has been associated with improvement in sexual desire, improvement in the number of SSEs, and reduced distress associated with low sexual desire, and is well tolerated.

But what I like is that the first result in Trip is Astroturfers rule the day: FDA’s flibanserin reviewers were “emotionally blackmailed” by a slick lobbying campaign, a critical examination of the process.  While many do not like the inclusion of blogs (they can easily be removed from the search results) they can offer a critical insight/context which can be missing from journal articles.

As an aside, another thing I enjoyed seeing was that our clinical trial search found 12 trials, all of which are now classed as closed.  I’d not appreciated the power of having registered trials pulled through in to Trip.

Clinical Trials in Trip

Clinical trials are a vital element of evidence-based healthcare.  And, increasingly, trial registries are being searched as part of evidence synthesis activities.

As Trip’s main role is to help users find important evidence it’s natural we wanted to include clinical trials in our search index.  The fewer barriers there are to finding evidence the more likely it is to be used.  So, combining clinical trials in our search index makes them easy to find and therefore more likely to be used – simple really!

Trip obtains trials from the American ClinicalTrials.gov website, a site with over 190,000 clinical trials.  The site is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.  To be clear, it is a global database as the image below shows (for a search for measles).

As ever one of Trip’s mains strengths is simplicity.  Log in with your Premium account and search, this example is for a search for aspirin and cancer

In the above image the clinical trials are highlighted and you can see that there are three types:

  • Open – trials that are recruiting
  • Closed – trials that are either not yet open or have finished recruiting
  • Unknown – often the trials aren’t updated so clinicaltrials.gov are unsure of the status

If a user clicks on the ‘Open’ clinical trials you get the following:

It really is simple.  Evidence really is simple with Trip.

To access this and the many other benefits of Trip Premium sign-up now via this link (NOTE: Institutional subscriptions are available).  If you’re unsure or you require further details of Trip’s great power see our beautiful infographic

A taste of things to come

It is hopefully self-explanatory…

NOTE: click to enlarge

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