40. The Use of Meta-analysis in Pharmacoepidemiology

  1. Brian L. Strom MD, MPH3,4,5,6,
  2. Stephen E. Kimmel MD, MSCE5,6 and
  3. Sean Hennessy PHARMD, PHD5,6
  1. Jesse A. Berlin1,
  2. Soledad Cepeda1 and
  3. Carin J. Kim2

Published Online: 3 JAN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781119959946.ch40

Pharmacoepidemiology, Fifth Edition

Pharmacoepidemiology, Fifth Edition

How to Cite

Berlin, J. A., Cepeda, S. and Kim, C. J. (2012) The Use of Meta-analysis in Pharmacoepidemiology, in Pharmacoepidemiology, Fifth Edition (eds B. L. Strom, S. E. Kimmel and S. Hennessy), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781119959946.ch40

Editor Information

  1. 3

    George S. Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  2. 4

    Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  3. 5

    Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  4. 6

    Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Epidemiology, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical, Research and Development, Titusville, NJ, USA

  2. 2

    Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 JAN 2012
  2. Published Print: 17 FEB 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470654750

Online ISBN: 9781119959946



  • meta-analysis;
  • rare event;
  • indirect comparison;
  • mixed treatment comparison;
  • literature search;
  • measures of association;
  • heterogenicity;
  • publication bias;
  • cumulative meta-analysis;
  • prospective meta-analysis


Meta-analysis can be regarded as a “state-of-the-art” literature review, employing statistical methods to combine data in conjunction with a thorough and systematic qualitative review. There are a number of reasons why a pharmacoepidemiologist might be interested in conducting a meta-analysis. These include the study of uncommon adverse (or favorable) outcomes of therapies; the exploration of subgroups of patients in whom therapy may be more or less effective or safe; the comprehensive assessment of how a therapy compares with other available treatments in terms of safety and efficacy, whether or not the therapies have been directly compared in trials; and the ranking of treatments in terms of efficacy and safety for a specific condition. This chapter summarizes many of the major conceptual and methodologic issues surrounding meta-analysis and extended meta-analytic techniques and offers avenues for future research.