Background: The development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) should be based on systematic reviews. Network meta-analyses (NMAs) are useful in CPGs when there is no evidence that compares interventions of interest directly (indirect treatment comparison; ITC), or when combining direct and indirect evidence (multiple treatment comparison; MTC). This study is to analyze the proportion of NMAs used in CPGs.
Objectives: This study is to analyze the proportion of NMAs used in CPGs.
Methods: PubMed database was searched to obtain NMAs; 100 NMAs were randomly selected as the sample by SPSS 19.0, then we collected the articles that cited the NMAs sample in Google and Web of Science.
Results: A total of 289 NMAs were retrieved from PubMed, and 100 NMAs were sampled randomly. A total of 2026 articles had cited the NMAs sample, among which 50 (2%) were CPGs, including 12 National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) CPGs and two National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) CPGs. All of the CPGs that cited NMAs were conducted or updated in 2011 to 2013.
Conclusions: The value of NMAs could make explicit the decisions made implicitly when multiple pairwise comparisons are presented in CPGs. However a low proportion of NMAs were used in CPGs. Further research on how to improve use of NMAs in CPGs would be valuable.