Evidence-Based Snapshots

Due to the popularity of the Evidence-Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature section, we are enhancing this section with more of what our readers want.  JIP readers have told us that they want the “quick and dirty” on new trials that are reported virtually daily; Who was studied?  What were the results? What does it mean? Our goal with the Evidence-Based Snapshots section is to provide a synopsis of these studies no later than one week from the time it is released.

Individual section editors of JIP help us by suggesting studies they feel should be in this section. Our editors are experts in their therapeutic areas and review the journals pertinent to their expertise on a regular basis and we have asked them to identify studies they believe would be of interest to our readers. In particular, we are interested in those studies that have the potential to impact how we use pharmacotherapy or confirm in more detail what we already know.  Experts in the area will also provide a brief commentary on the studies. We also invite you to suggest articles which should appear in this section.

It is not our goal to do a formal critical appraisal on each article reviewed in the Evidence-Based Snapshots section.  Instead, we intend to simply create a synopsis of what was found.  A more extensive critical review will continue to be done for selected studies in the Evidence-Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature section.

Evidence-Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature

The purpose of Evidence-Based Reviews of the Pharmacotherapy Literature section is to alert clinicians to important advances in pharmacotherapy by selecting from the current biomedical literature those original and systematic review articles whose results are most likely to result in a change in clinical practice. These articles are summarized in structured abstracts and commented on by pharmacotherapy experts.

The procedures we follow as we attempt to achieve this purpose are:

1. Considering the best original and systematic review articles evaluating the clinical merit or economics of drug therapy.

2. Introducing these articles with declarative titles and summarizing them accurately in structured abstracts that follow the format for the User’s Guide to the Medical Literature series originally published in JAMA by the Evidence Based Medicine Working Group.

3. Adding brief, highly expert commentaries to place each of these summaries in its proper clinical perspective.

4. Disseminating these summaries in a timely fashion to clinicians.

Journals are reviewed based on the proportion of articles that meet the following criteria:

Criteria for Acceptability for the Structured Abstract and Commentary

1. General: All English-language original and review articles are acceptable for abstracting if they concern topics important to the clinical practice of pharmacotherapy.

2. Studies of the clinical impact of drug therapy: random allocation of the participants to the different interventions; outcome measures of known or probable clinical importance for  80% of the participants who entered the investigation. Reviewers of articles for this section should use the on-line submission form or the printable form based on the User’s Guide to the Medical Literature: How to Use an Article about Therapy or Prevention (originally published in JAMA 1993;270(21):2598-601 & 1994;271(1):59-63).

3. Studies of the economics of drug therapy: The economic question must compare suitable alternative pharmacotherapeutic strategies; the alternative pharmacotherapeutic strategies must be compared on the basis of both the outcomes they produce (effectiveness) and the resources they consume (costs); evidence of effectiveness must come from a study (or studies) that meet the above criteria for an article on the clinical impact of drug therapy; results should be presented in terms of the incremental or additional costs and outcomes incurred and realized by one intervention over another; and a sensitivity analysis should be done. Reviewers of articles for this section should use the on-line submission form or the printable form based on the User’s Guide to the Medical Literature: How to Use an Economic Analysis of Clinical Practice (originally published in JAMA 1997;277(19):1552-7 and 1997;278(13):1064).

4. Systematic reviews of the pharmacotherapy literature: The clinical topic being reviewed must be clearly stated; there must be a description of how the evidence on this topic was tracked down, from what sources, and with what inclusion and exclusion criteria; and  1 article included in the review must meet the above-noted criteria for the clinical impact or economics of drug therapy. Reviewers of articles for this section should use the on-line submission form or the printable form based on the User’s Guide to the Medical Literature: How to Use an Overview (originally published in JAMA 1995;274(3):217-8).

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