Responsiveness of efficacy endpoints in clinical trials with over the counter analgesics for headache
Aicher B et al. – When global assessment of efficacy by the patient was used as external criterion, ROC curve calculations confirmed a high responsiveness for all efficacy endpoints included in this study. Clinically relevant differences between patients satisfied and non–satisfied with the treatment were observed. The endpoint ‘%SPIDweighted’ proved slightly but consistently superior to the other endpoints. SPID and %SPIDweighted are not easy to interpret and the time course of pain reduction is of high importance for the patients in the treatment of acute pain, including headache. The endpoint ‘pain–free at 2 hours’ showed the expected high specificity, but at the cost of a concurrently low sensitivity and clearly makes less use of the available information than the endpoint ‘time to 50% pain reduction’, which combines the highly relevant aspects of time course and extent of pain reduction. Responsiveness, the ability of an outcome measure to detect clinically important changes in a specific condition of a patient, should be added in future revisions of IHS guidelines for clinical trials in headache disorders.Methods
- Patient’s global efficacy assessment during two study phases (pre–phase and treatment phase) was used to classify patients as satisfied or non–satisfied with the efficacy of their medication.
- The analysis is based on 1734 patients included in the efficacy analysis of a randomized, placebo–controlled, double–blind, multi–centre parallel group trial with six treatment arms.
- Based on this classification and the pain intensity recorded by the patients on a 100mm visual analogue scale, group differences by assessment categories and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve methods were used to quantify responsiveness of the efficacy endpoints ‘time to 50% pain relief’, ‘time until reduction of pain intensity to 10mm’, ‘weighted sum of pain intensity difference’ (%SPIDweighted), ‘pain intensity difference (PID) relative to baseline at 2 hours’, and ‘pain–free at 2 hours’.
- Clinically relevant differences between patients satisfied and non–satisfied with the treatment were observed for all efficacy endpoints.
- Patients with the highest rating of efficacy had the fastest and strongest pain relief.
- In comparison, patients assessing efficacy as ‘less good’ reached a 50% pain relief on average nearly an hour later than those scoring efficacy as at least ‘good’.
- Simultaneously, their extent of pain relief was only half as great 2 hours after medication intake.
- Patients scoring efficacy as ‘poor’ experienced practically no pain relief within the 4 hour observation interval.
- ROC curve calculations confirmed an adequate responsiveness for all continuous endpoints.
- The following cut–off points for differentiating between satisfied and non–satisfied patients were deduced from the data in the pre– and treatment phase, respectively: ‘time to 50% pain relief’ 1:10 and 1:31h:min, ‘time until reduction of pain intensity to 10mm’ 2:40 and 3:00h:min, ‘%SPIDweighted’ 68 and 64%, ‘PID at 2 hours’ 35 and 35mm.
- The sensitivity and specificity based on these cut–off points ranged from 70 to 79%.
- The binary endpoint 'pain–free at 2 hours showed a clearly higher specificity (80 and 87%) than sensitivity (65 and 61%) in the pre– and treatment phase, respectively.