Research reports on treatments for bipolar disorder: preliminary assessment of methodological quality
Article first published online: 7 JUN 2005
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 112, Issue 1, pages 72–74, July 2005
How to Cite
Soldani, F., Ghaemi, S. N. and Baldessarini, R. J. (2005), Research reports on treatments for bipolar disorder: preliminary assessment of methodological quality. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 112: 72–74. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00575.x
- Issue published online: 7 JUN 2005
- Article first published online: 7 JUN 2005
- Accepted for publication April 28, 2005
- bipolar disorder;
- journal article;
- epidemiologic research design;
- randomized controlled trials;
- control groups;
- reproducibility of results;
- confidence intervals;
Objective: To assess frequencies of types of publications about bipolar disorder (BD) and evaluate methodological quality of treatment studies.
Method: We classified 100 randomly selected articles (1998–2002) from five psychiatric journals with highest impact ratings, by topic areas, and assessed methods employed in treatment studies.
Results: Topics ranked: treatment (41%; 37% on pharmacotherapy) > biology (31%) > psychopathology (14%) = miscellaneous (14%). Of treatment studies, only 19% of original articles were randomized, 15% were relatively large (n ≥ 50) but non-randomized, 65% were small non-randomized, case-series or -reports, and 53% relied on baseline-to-endpoint contrasts without a control group. Patient dropout rates were ≥40% in 43% of prospective studies. Only two reports provided confidence intervals; one included a power analysis, and 53% included no references on study design or statistical methods.
Conclusion: Even in highly respected journals, the typical methodological quality of recent reports on therapeutics for BD was unexpectedly limited, and psychopathology and psychotherapies were little studied.