Additional considerations are required when preparing a protocol for a systematic review with multiple interventions.

Chaimani, Anna; Caldwell, Deborah M; Li, Tianjing; Higgins, Julian Pt; Salanti, Georgia (2017). Additional considerations are required when preparing a protocol for a systematic review with multiple interventions. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 83, pp. 65-74. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2016.11.015

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OBJECTIVES The number of systematic reviews that aim to compare multiple interventions using network meta-analysis is increasing. In this paper, we highlight aspects of a standard systematic review protocol that may need modification when multiple interventions are to be compared. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING We take the protocol format suggested by Cochrane for a standard systematic review as our reference, and compare the considerations for a pairwise review with those required for a valid comparison of multiple interventions. We suggest new sections for protocols of systematic reviews including network meta-analyses with a focus on how to evaluate their assumptions. We provide example text from published protocols to exemplify the considerations. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION Standard systematic review protocols for pairwise meta-analyses need extensions to accommodate the increased complexity of network meta-analysis. Our suggested modifications are widely applicable to both Cochrane and non-Cochrane systematic reviews involving network meta-analyses.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Salanti, Georgia


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








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

24 Jan 2017 15:03

Last Modified:

18 May 2020 14:14

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

comparative effectiveness review; eligibility criteria; transitivity; network meta-analysis; indirect comparison; mixed treatment comparison




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