Systematic review: The methodological quality of trials affects estimates of treatment efficacy in functional (non-ulcer) dyspepsia

N. S. Abraham, P. Moayyedi, B. Daniels, S. J.O. Veldhuyzen Van Zanten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Aim: To evaluate treatment efficacy using objective quality criteria. Methods: A systematic review was performed of randomized controlled trials of endoscopically investigated dyspepsia (1979-2003) using the Jadad score and Rome II guidelines. The Jadad score differentiated studies as 'high quality' (score 4-5/5) vs. 'poor quality' (score 1-3/ 5). Three key Rome II guidelines on study design (cut-off of 0/3 or > 0/3) were also compared with the Jadad score. Results: Poor quality trials suggested a benefit of prokinetic therapy [relative risk (RR) of remaining dyspeptic, 0.47; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.39-0.56), which was not confirmed in high quality trials (RR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.84-1.19). There was a marked benefit of H2-receptor antagonist therapy in poor quality trials (RR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.61-0.76), but a marginal benefit in good quality trials (RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.79-0.97). Trial quality did not affect the small statistically significant benefit seen with Helicobacter pylori eradication. Two high quality trials suggested a limited benefit with the use of proton pump inhibitors, with no poor quality trials to provide a comparison. Separation of the studies by the Rome II criteria had a similar impact on the calculated treatment estimates. Conclusions: The magnitude of benefit of prokinetic and H2-receptor antagonist therapies reported in previous meta-analyses has been over-estimated. The quality of trials has an impact on the efficacy estimates of treatment. The Rome II criteria for study methodology may be appropriate for judging study quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-641
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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