A systematic review published in September 2016 indicted that adverse events reporting in academic journals may be improving. The review, which examined 368 journal articles about clinical trials that tested spinal manipulative therapy interventions, found that only 38% of all articles reported on adverse events, but that the rate among articles published since 2010 was a significantly higher 50%.
The review sought to determine whether the extent of adverse events reporting in academic publications had improved since the release of the 2010 Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement, which aimed at standardising and improving the reporting of clinical trials.
The review’s authors concluded:
Although there has been an increase in the reporting of adverse events since the introduction of the 2010 CONSORT guidelines, the current level should be seen as inadequate and unacceptable. We recommend that authors adhere to the CONSORT statement when reporting adverse events associated with RCTs [randomised controlled trials]. Standardization of the nomenclature and the development of a uniform classification system as well as the development and validation of tools used to collect adverse event data are necessary to allow pooling of data for meta-analysis in the future.
According to CONSORT guidelines:
[I]f data on adverse events were collected, events should be listed and defined, with reference to standardised criteria where appropriate. The methods used for data collection and attribution of events should be described. For each study arm the absolute risk of each adverse event, using appropriate metrics for recurrent events, and the number of participants withdrawn due to harms should be presented. Finally, authors should provide a balanced discussion of benefits and harms.
Currently 585 academic journals endorse CONSORT, which was first published in 1996 and then updated in 2001 and in 2010.