A commentary published in JAMA Dermatology has highlighted yet another extraordinary case of unpublished trials.
It looks at the case of imiquimod, widely considered beneficial for treating children with molluscum contagiosum (a viral infection that affects the skin). In fact, 2 large randomised clinical trials have shown imiquimod is neither safe nor effective in these cases.1,2
These trials, though, were never published. Doctors continue to prescribe the drug for molluscum contagiosum in children. The author of the JAMA article predicts that prescriptions of imiquimod would dramatically decrease if the results of these trials were made available.
This is far from an unusual problem. The best evidence is that only half of all clinical trials ever conducted have reported results, and some have never even been registered. Information on what was done and what was found in these trials could be lost forever to doctors and researchers, leading to more bad treatment decisions, and missed opportunities for good and new medicine.
The AllTrials campaign is calling for every clinical trial, past and present, to be registered and their results reported. Please watch our short campaign video, share it with everyone you know, and sign our petition if you agree.
1 – Papadopoulos EJ. Clinical executive summary [Imiquimod]. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/UCM162961.pdf. Accessed June 05, 2015.
2 – Aldara (imiquimod) cream for topical use.Dailymed. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/lookup.cfm?setid=7fccca4e-fb8f-42b8-9555-8f78a5804ed3. Accessed August 11, 2014.