Individual Patient Data in a Network Meta-Analysis: Is it worth the effort?

Joy Leahy (National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics)

Friday 11th January 15:00-16:00 Maths 311B


The use of individual patient data (IPD) in network meta-analysis (NMA) is becoming increasingly popular. However, as most studies do not report IPD, most NMAs are carried out using aggregate data (AD) for at least some, if not all, of the studies. We investigate the benefits of including varying proportions of IPD studies in an NMA. 


Several models have previously been developed for including both AD and IPD in the same NMA. We carried out a simulation study based on these models to check the effect of additional IPD studies on the accuracy and precision of the estimates of both the treatment effect and the covariate effect. We also compared the Deviance Information Criterion (DIC) between models to assess model fit. An increased proportion of IPD resulted in more accurate and precise estimates for most models and datasets. However, the coverage probability sometimes decreased when the model was mis-specified. The use of IPD leads to greater differences in DIC, which allows us to choose the correct model more often. 


We analysed a Hepatitis C network consisting of three IPD observational studies. The ranking of treatments remained the same for all models and datasets. We observed similar results to the simulation study: the use of IPD leads to differences in DIC and more precise estimates for the covariate effect. However, IPD sometimes increased the posterior SD of the treatment effect estimate, which may indicate between study heterogeneity. We recommend that IPD should be used where possible, especially for assessing model fit.

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