Table 3

Trend of salient characteristics over time in RA studies and comparison with a study from top four medical journals

CharacteristicTime period of included studies/(reference) (publication year)
2013* 24
2008–2013* 27
Overall ITT analysis performed, %7.435.338.140.0NA†
Overall PP analysis performed, %59.311.728.5NANA
Preferred missing data handling methods used, %
Dropout in each study arm given, %69.082.385.797.0NA
Missing data handling given, %23.561.148.836.094.1
LOCF used to handle missing data‡, %52.641.722.712.056.8
Missing mechanism given, %NA2.90.0NA7.8
Sensitivity analysis performed, %11.113.920.537.027.0
Comparison of completers/non-completers, %
  • *Studies involving top medical journals.

  • †86% stated that ITT was used but no information on those that actually performed ITT.

  • ‡LOCF was the most common method used across all years for imputation except 2016 (Ibrahim et al) where NRI was most frequent (74.5%) but NRI and LOCF were used simultaneously as well; in the 1994–2003 and 2013 studies, complete case analysis (59.3% and 45.0%, respectively) was the most common method to handle missing data.

  • ITT, intention-to-treat; LOCF, last observation carried forward; NA, not available; PP, per-protocol; RA, rheumatoid arthritis.