Abstract 3789: Nessun Dorma: Have the Risks of Rosiglitazone been Exaggerated?
Background A highly publicized meta-analysis of 42 clinical trials comprising 27,844 diabetics ignited a firestorm of controversy by charging that treatment with rosiglitazone was associated with a “…worrisome…” 43% greater risk of myocardial infarction (p=0.03) and a 64% greater risk of cardiovascular death (p=0.06).
Objective The investigators excluded 4 trials from the infarction analysis and 19 trials from the mortality analysis in which no events were observed. We sought to determine if these exclusions biased the results.
Methods We compared the index study to a Bayesian meta-analysis of the entire 42 trials (using odds ratio as the measure of effect size) and to fixed-effects and random-effects analyses with and without a continuity correction that adjusts for values of zero.
Results The odds ratios and confidence intervals for the analyses are summarized in the Table⇓. Odds ratios for infarction ranged from 1.43 to 1.22 and for death from 1.64 to 1.13. Corrected models resulted in substantially smaller odds ratios and narrower confidence intervals than did uncorrected models. Although corrected risks remain elevated, none are statistically significant (*p<0.05).
Conclusions Given the fragility of the effect sizes and confidence intervals, the charge that roziglitazone increases the risk of adverse events is not supported by these additional analyses. The exaggerated values observed in the index study are likely the result of excluding the zero-event trials from analysis. Continuity adjustments mitigate this error and provide more consistent and reliable assessments of true effect size. Transparent sensitivity analyses should therefore be performed over a realistic range of the operative assumptions to verify the stability of such assessments especially when outcome events are rare. Given the relatively wide confidence intervals, additional data will be required to adjudicate these inconclusive results.