Network Meta-Analysis.

Watt, Jennifer; Del Giovane, Cinzia (2022). Network Meta-Analysis. In: Meta-Research: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology: Vol. 2345 (pp. 187-201). New York, NY: Humana Press 10.1007/978-1-0716-1566-9_12

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There are often multiple potential interventions to treat a disease; therefore, we need a method for simultaneously comparing and ranking all of these available interventions. In contrast to pairwise meta-analysis, which allows for the comparison of one intervention to another based on head-to-head data from randomized trials, network meta-analysis (NMA) facilitates simultaneous comparison of the efficacy or safety of multiple interventions that may not have been directly compared in a randomized trial. NMAs help researchers study important and previously unanswerable questions, which have contributed to a rapid rise in the number of NMA publications in the biomedical literature. However, the conduct and interpretation of NMAs are more complex than pairwise meta-analyses: there are additional NMA model assumptions (i.e., network connectivity, homogeneity, transitivity, and consistency) and outputs (e.g., network plots and surface under the cumulative ranking curves [SUCRAs]). In this chapter, we will: (1) explore similarities and differences between pairwise and network meta-analysis; (2) explain the differences between direct, indirect, and mixed treatment comparisons; (3) describe how treatment effects are derived from NMA models; (4) discuss key criteria predicating completion of NMA; (5) interpret NMA outputs; (6) discuss areas of ongoing methodological research in NMA; (7) outline an approach to conducting a systematic review and NMA; (8) describe common problems that researchers encounter when conducting NMAs and potential solutions; and (9) outline an approach to critically appraising a systematic review and NMA.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Del Giovane, Cinzia


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services






Methods in Molecular Biology


Humana Press




Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

08 Oct 2021 19:27

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:53

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Consistency Direct treatment comparisons Homogeneity Indirect treatment comparisons Mixed treatment comparisons Network connectivity Network meta-analysis Pairwise meta-analysis Systematic review Transitivity




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