Industry sponsorship in trials on fluoride varnish or gels for caries prevention.

Reda, Seif; Elhennawy, Karim; Meyer-Lückel, Hendrik; Paris, Sebastian; Schwendicke, Falk (2017). Industry sponsorship in trials on fluoride varnish or gels for caries prevention. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 45(4), pp. 289-295. Wiley 10.1111/cdoe.12287

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OBJECTIVES Fluoride is effective for caries prevention, but trials on fluoride varnish or gels are often industry-sponsored. We assessed trial design and findings in sponsored and nonsponsored trials on fluoride varnish and fluoride gels for caries prevention. METHODS Data on trials included in the most recent Cochrane Reviews on fluoride varnish and fluoride gels were extracted. Sample sizes/age/dentition, year/country of publication, follow-up, test and control, risk of bias and spin (claims of a beneficial effect that were not supported by reported data) were assessed. Studies were categorized as certainly, possibly and not sponsored, and statistically compared. Inverse-generic meta-analysis and multivariable weighted least-squares meta-regression were used to assess impact of sponsorship status on effect estimates. RESULTS Based on 19 nonsponsored, 14 possibly sponsored and 11 certainly sponsored trials, sponsored studies were published significantly earlier, always had >1 test group, and had significantly lower risk of spin. Caries-preventive effects were higher in earlier trials, without indication for sponsorship bias in trials published until 1990 (there were no sponsored trials afterwards). If assessing the overall body of evidence and accounting for confounders, the caries-preventive effect was significantly associated with year of publication (β: -0.06, 95% CI: -0.10/-0.02), but not sponsorship status. CONCLUSIONS Industry-sponsorship bias had limited impact on the overall evidence.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Preventive, Restorative and Pediatric Dentistry

UniBE Contributor:

Meyer-Lückel, Hendrik


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Hendrik Meyer-Lückel

Date Deposited:

10 Jan 2018 15:51

Last Modified:

30 Oct 2019 06:55

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

caries clinical trials fluoride prevention study design




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