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ObjectiveThe current practice in meta-analysis of the effects of psychopharmacological interventions ignors the administered dose or restricts the analysis in a dose range. This may introduce unnecessary uncertainty and heterogeneity. Methods have been developed to integrate the dose–effect models in meta-analysis.MethodsWe describe the two-stage and the one-stage models to conduct a dose–effect meta-analysis using common or random effects methods. We illustrate the methods on a dataset of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. The dataset comprises 60 randomised controlled trials. The dose–effect is measured on an odds ratio scale and is modelled using restricted cubic splines to detect departure from linearity.ResultsThe estimated summary curve indicates that the probability of response increases up to 30 mg/day of fluoxetine-equivalent which results in reaching 50% probability to respond. Beyond 40 mg/day, no further increase in the response is observed. The one-stage model includes all studies, resulting in slightly less uncertainty than the two-stage model where only part of the data is analysed.ConclusionsThe dose–effect meta-analysis enables clinicians to understand how the effect of a drug changes as a function of its dose. Such analysis should be conducted in practice using the one-stage model that incorporates evidence from all available studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Evidence Based Mental Health



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