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Highland Emergency Medicine Journal club Methods


March 2 2016 Review guide: meta-analysis
Whiting, Penny F., et al. "Cannabinoids for medical use: a systematic review and metaanalysis." Jama 313.24 (2015): 2456-2473.
Who are the authors? Where are they from? What is their background?
What is the background and rationale for this meta-analysis?
• What gap in knowledge does it intend to fill?
• What is the pertinent background information on cannabinoids in medicine?
• What are the objectives of this meta-analysis?
Methods Design:
• Eligibility Criteria
o What types of studies were included/excluded from the review?
o Inclusion criteria and Exclusion criteria
• Information sources, search strategy, study selection
o Which databases were searched (eg. Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE)?
o What years did their search include?
o Did they use a formal search strategy?
o Process for selecting studies: screening, eligibility, in their meta-analysis
• Quality assessment
o How was the quality of the studies assessed
o Did they use a validated scale?
• Outcomes
o Primary outcome
o Secondary outcomes
o Any safety outcomes
o Any subgroups
• Statistical considerations
o Was publications bias assessed and how they assessed it
o How was heterogeniety assessed?
• Number of studies included in the meta-analysis
• General characteristics of the studies included (number of patients, medical conditions,
• Primary outcome
o Forrest Plot
o Major secondary outcomes and subgroups, if applicable
o Safety outcomes
o Results for heterogeniety and publication bias
• Use PRISMA checklist to assess the quality of the meta-anlaysis review
• State your conclusions
• State the clinical significance
o Would you apply the results of this meta-analysis to treat your patients?
o How might this review affect your clinical decision making?