Public Release: 

New method devised for comparing efficacy and tolerability of drugs

Program allows doctors to easily stay up-to-date on latest medication research

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Rome, Italy - August 29, 2007 - With an ever-growing number of drugs available, it has become virtually impossible for doctors to remain fully up to date on the relevant literature and the comparative efficacy and tolerability of various therapies. A new article published in Pain Practice suggests a way in which this data can be presented in an easily accessibly way, allowing experts and non-experts alike to see at a glance how different drugs compare.

Current evidence-based clinical and policy therapy recommendations depend on appraising research literature for study design and quality, and assessing results in terms of relative benefits and harms. Using two newly-defined metrics, "Net Gain," to quantify the benefit and harm of treatments, and "Reliability," to quantify the quality and sample size of treatment trials, the new study demonstrates a graphical representation of data that allows both trial size/quality and benefit to be displayed together. The graphical output provides a simple and easy way to interpret information on large amounts of trial data for a number of drugs and accumulated research.

"We have developed a simple diagram (and a simple software) that allow investigators in any medical field to quantify and compare the results of clinical trials and to transfer them to other doctors that are not expert in the same field," say the authors.


This study is published in the September issue of Pain Practice. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Giorgio Cruccu, M.D., is a Professor of Neurology at La Sapienza University in Rome and Secretary General of the European Federation of Neurology. He can be reached for questions at

Rod Taylor, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Health Services Research at Universities of Exeter & Plymouth. He can be reached for questions at

Pain Practice, the official journal of the World Institute of Pain, publishes international multidisciplinary articles on pain that provide its readership with up-to-date knowledge of the research, evaluation methods, and techniques of pain management. The present literature on pain medicine is diverse and published in a variety of basic and clinical specialty journals. For more information, please visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.