Riley, RD, Legha, A, Jackson, D, Morris, TP, Ensor, J, Snell, KIE, White, IR and Burke, DL (2020) One-stage individual participant data meta-analysis models for continuous and binary outcomes: comparison of treatment coding options and estimation methods. Statistics in Medicine, 39 (19). pp. 2536-2555. ISSN 0277-6715

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A one-stage individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis synthesises IPD from multiple studies using a general or generalised linear mixed model. This produces summary results (e.g. about treatment effect) in a single step, whilst accounting for clustering of participants within studies (via a stratified study intercept, or random study intercepts) and between-study heterogeneity (via random treatment effects). We use simulation to evaluate the performance of restricted maximum likelihood (REML) and maximum likelihood (ML) estimation of one-stage IPD meta-analysis models for synthesising randomised trials with continuous or binary outcomes. Three key findings are identified. Firstly, for ML or REML estimation of stratified intercept or random intercepts models, a t-distribution based approach generally improves coverage of confidence intervals for the summary treatment effect, compared to a z-based approach. Secondly, when using ML estimation of a one-stage model with a stratified intercept, the treatment variable should be coded using ‘study-specific centering’ (i.e. 1/0 minus the study-specific proportion of participants in the treatment group), as this reduces the bias in the between-study variance estimate (compared to 1/0 and other coding options). Thirdly, REML estimation reduces downward bias in between-study variance estimates compared to ML estimation, and does not depend on the treatment variable coding; for binary outcomes, this requires REML estimation of the pseudo-likelihood, although this may not be stable in some situations (e.g. when data are sparse). Two applied examples are used to illustrate the findings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: estimation methods; individual participant data; IPD; maximum likelihood; meta-analysis; treatment coding
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Primary, Community and Social Care
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2020 15:58
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2021 09:09

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