OBJECTIVE: Evaluating the reporting of safety data of medication in paediatric randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in 2017-2018 compared with our earlier study.
DESIGN: Literature search with a systemic appraisal of adverse drug event reporting.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Quality of reporting of safety data using Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) and Ioannidis scores in paediatric drug RCTs. The CONSORT score consists of nine recommendations of the CONSORT Group issued to improve the quality of reporting adverse events. The Ioannidis score is based on these advices. We considered a CONSORT score of at least 6 and an Ioannidis score of at least 3 as sufficient.
RESULTS: We reviewed 100 RCTs published in 2017 and 2018. Ninety-four (94%) articles mentioned adverse events compared with 78% in the earlier study. Fifty-seven per cent used a standardised method for reporting adverse events compared with 34% in our earlier study. In 26 of the articles, the expected adverse events were defined, and 27 articles had a preset standardised scale for adverse events. Of these, 62 articles (62%) had a CONSORT score of 6 or higher compared with 18% in 2010. In the present study, 67% had an Ioannidis score of 3 or higher, whereas in the earlier study this was 29%. Both differences are statistically significant (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Reporting safety data in paediatric RCTs has improved over the past 10 years. However, there is still room for improvement and for further improvement. Authors and editors should give more attention to methods for collecting, reporting and presenting safety data of RCTs in studies and manuscripts.