Network Meta-analysis for clinical practice guidelines: A case study on first-line medical therapies for primary open-angle glaucoma

Benjamin Rouse, Andrea Cipriani, Qiyuan Shi, Anne L. Coleman, Kay Dickersin, Tianjing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Network meta-analysis compares multiple treatment options for the same condition and may be useful for developing clinical practice guidelines. Purpose: To compare treatment recommendations for first-line medical therapy for primary open angle-glaucoma (POAG) from major updates of American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) guidelines with the evidence available at the time, using network meta-analysis. Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched on 11 March 2014 for randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) of glaucoma monotherapies compared with placebo, vehicle, or no treatment or other monotherapies. The AAO Web site was searched in August 2014 to identify AAO POAG guidelines. Study Selection: Eligible RCTs were selected by 2 independent reviewers, and guidelines were selected by 1 person. Data Extraction: One person abstracted recommendations from guidelines and a second person verified. Two people independently abstracted data from included RCTs. Data Synthesis: Guidelines were grouped together on the basis of literature search dates, and RCTs that existed at 1991, 1995, 1999, 2004, and 2009 were analyzed. The outcome of interest was intraocular pressure (IOP) at 3 months. Only the latest guideline made a specific recommendation: prostaglandins. Network meta-analyses showed that all treatments were superior to placebo in decreasing IOP at 3 months. The mean reductions (95% credible intervals [CrIs]) for the highest-ranking class compared with placebo were as follows: 1991: β-blockers, 4.01 (CrI, 0.48 to 7.43); 1995: α2-adrenergic agonists, 5.64 (CrI, 1.73 to 9.50); 1999: prostaglandins, 5.43 (CrI, 3.38 to 7.38); 2004: prostaglandins, 4.75 (CrI, 3.11 to 6.44); 2009: prostaglandins, 4.58 (CrI, 2.94 to 6.24). Limitation: When comparisons are informed by a small number of studies, the treatment effects and rankings may not be stable. Conclusion: For timely recommendations when multiple treatment options are available, guidelines developers should consider network meta-analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-682
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Network Meta-analysis for clinical practice guidelines: A case study on first-line medical therapies for primary open-angle glaucoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this