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Concept: Good clinical practice


Clinical trials established the efficacy and safety of natalizumab. Data are needed over longer periods of time and in the clinical practice setting.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Multiple sclerosis, Good clinical practice


Since several years risk-based monitoring is the new “magic bullet” for improvement in clinical research. Lots of authors in clinical research ranging from industry and academia to authorities are keen on demonstrating better monitoring-efficiency by reducing monitoring visits, monitoring time on site, monitoring costs and so on, always arguing with the use of risk-based monitoring principles. Mostly forgotten is the fact, that the use of risk-based monitoring is only adequate if all mandatory prerequisites at site and for the monitor and the sponsor are fulfilled.Based on the relevant chapter in ICH GCP (International Conference on Harmonisation of technical requirements for registration of pharmaceuticals for human use - Good Clinical Practice) this publication takes a holistic approach by identifying and describing the requirements for future monitoring and the use of risk-based monitoring. As the authors are operational managers as well as QA (Quality Assurance) experts, both aspects are represented to come up with efficient and qualitative ways of future monitoring according to ICH GCP.

Concepts: Time, Clinical trial, Management, Quality assurance, Clinical research, Good clinical practice, GxP


To better inform clinical practice, this study was aimed at capturing patients' motivations for enrolling in phase 1 trials and at quantifying their expectations of the benefits, risks, and commitment associated with clinical trials and the impact of the initial consultation on their expectations.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Good clinical practice


Transcranial direct current stimulation has shown promise to improve recovery in patients with post-stroke aphasia, but previous studies have only assessed stimulation effects on impairment parameters, and evidence for long-term maintenance of transcranial direct current stimulation effects from randomized, controlled trials is lacking. Moreover, due to the variability of lesions and functional language network reorganization after stroke, recent studies have used advanced functional imaging or current modelling to determine optimal stimulation sites in individual patients. However, such approaches are expensive, time consuming and may not be feasible outside of specialized research centres, which complicates incorporation of transcranial direct current stimulation in day-to-day clinical practice. Stimulation of an ancillary system that is functionally connected to the residual language network, namely the primary motor system, would be more easily applicable, but effectiveness of such an approach has not been explored systematically. We conducted a randomized, parallel group, sham-controlled, double-blind clinical trial and 26 patients with chronic aphasia received a highly intensive naming therapy over 2 weeks (8 days, 2 × 1.5 h/day). Concurrently, anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation was administered to the left primary motor cortex twice daily at the beginning of each training session. Naming ability for trained items (n = 60 pictures that could not be named during repeated baseline assessments), transfer to untrained items (n = 284 pictures) and generalization to everyday communication were assessed immediately post-intervention and 6 months later. Naming ability for trained items was significantly improved immediately after the end of the intervention in both the anodal (Cohen’s d = 3.67) and sham-transcranial direct current stimulation groups (d = 2.10), with a trend for larger gains in the anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation group (d = 0.71). Treatment effects for trained items were significantly better maintained in the anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation group 6 months later (d = 1.19). Transfer to untrained items was significantly larger in the anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation group after the training (d = 1.49) and during the 6 month follow-up assessment (d = 3.12). Transfer effects were only maintained in the anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation group. Functional communication was significantly more improved in the anodal-transcranial direct current stimulation group at both time points compared to patients treated with sham-transcranial direct current stimulation (d = 0.75-0.99). Our results provide the first evidence from a randomized, controlled trial that transcranial direct current stimulation can improve both function and activity-related outcomes in chronic aphasia, with medium to large effect sizes, and that these effects are maintained over extended periods of time. These effects were achieved with an easy-to-implement and thus clinically feasible motor-cortex montage that may represent a promising ‘backdoor’ approach to improve language recovery after stroke.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Electricity, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Effect size, Good clinical practice


Interventions that teach people with bipolar disorder (BD) to recognize and respond to early warning signs (EWS) of relapse are recommended but implementation in clinical practice is poor.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Bipolar disorder, Good clinical practice


Despite a large volume of evidence supporting the use of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndrome, there remains major uncertainty regarding the optimal duration of therapy. Clinical trials have varied markedly in the duration of therapy, both across and within trials. Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that shorter durations of dual antiplatelet therapy are superior because the avoidance of atherothrombotic events is counterbalanced by the greater risks of excess major bleeding with apparent increases in all-cause mortality with longer durations. These findings did not show significant heterogeneity according to whether patients had stable or unstable coronary heart disease. Moreover, the potential hazards and benefits may differ when applied to the general broad population of patients encountered in everyday clinical practice who have markedly higher bleeding and atherothrombotic event rates. Clinicians lack definitive information regarding the duration of therapy in patients with acute coronary syndrome and risk scores do not appear to be sufficiently robust to address these concerns. We believe that there is a pressing need to undertake a broad inclusive safety trial of shorter durations of therapy in real world populations of patients with acute coronary syndrome. The clinical evidence would further inform future research into strategies for personalised medicine.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, Heart, Risk, The Canon of Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Avicenna, Good clinical practice


The dramatic success of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) has led to the widespread perception that chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) has become another chronic disease, where lifelong commitment to pharmacological control is the paradigm. Recent trials demonstrate that some CML patients who have achieved stable deep molecular response can safely cease their therapy without relapsing (treatment free remission; TFR). Furthermore, those who are unsuccessful in their cessation attempt can safely re-establish remission after restarting their TKI therapy. Based on the accumulated data on TFR we propose that it is now time to change our approach for the many CML patients who have achieved a stable deep molecular response on long-term TKI therapy. Perhaps half of these patients could successfully achieve TFR if offered the opportunity. For many of these patients ongoing therapy is impairing quality of life and imposing a heavy financial burden while arguably achieving nothing. This recommendation is based on the evident safety of cessation attempts and TFR in the clinical trial setting. We acknowledge that there are potential risks associated with cessation attempts in wider clinical practice, but this should not deter us. Instead we need to establish criteria for safe and appropriate TKI cessation. Clinical trials will enable us to define the best strategies to achieve TFR, but clinicians need guidance today about how to approach this issue with their patients. We outline circumstances in which it would be in the patient’s best interest to continue TKI, as well as criteria for a safe TFR attempt.

Concepts: Medicine, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug development, Clinical trial protocol, Good clinical practice, Clinical site


For patients with advanced indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) or elderly patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), the recently reported results of the German StiL NHL-1 2003 and the international BRIGHT phase III trials showed that, as first-line treatment, the combination of bendamustine and rituximab is at least as effective as rituximab/cyclophosphamide/doxorubicin/vincristine/prednisone or rituximab/cyclophosphamide/vincristine/prednisone, possibly with a better therapeutic index. Bendamustine is therefore increasingly used in clinical practice. Because bendamustine has been used for many years in Germany and in Switzerland, our institutions have had extensive experience with bendamustine, both as a single agent and in combination with rituximab. In this comprehensive review, we summarize the most important clinical data from phase II/III trials with bendamustine in patients with indolent NHL and MCL, both in the relapsed/refractory setting and in the first-line setting. In addition, this review provides practical advice on how to optimally manage bendamustine therapy in patients with NHL.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Germany, Good clinical practice, Clinical data acquisition, Mantle cell lymphoma


Objective. The evidence base for or against physiotherapy interventions in adults with asthma remains ambiguous, and there are discrepancies between different clinical practice guidelines. We evaluated the level of agreement between the recommendations about physiotherapy for adults with asthma in two major clinical practice guidelines: the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA 2011) and the British Thoracic Society and the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (BTS/ACPRC 2009). Methods. We used the AGREE II instrument to assess the methodological rigour of the guideline development, the AMSTAR tool and the PEDro scale to assess the methodological quality of systematic reviews and clinical trials included in the analysed documents. Additionally, we compared the reference lists of the analysed sections to establish the overlap in included primary and secondary studies. Results. We observed no agreement between the two guidelines in the choice of source research articles. Only 2 studies out of 18 used in BTS guidelines were used in the GINA. The reason why GINA developers did not use the body of evidence included in BTS is not clear. Three independent investigators indicated higher scores in all domains of the AGREE II in the BTS/ACPRC document in comparison with the GINA guidelines. Conclusions. The significant differences in the content and development processes of the examined sections of the two guidelines suggest the need for more frequent and careful updating or directing the readers of the GINA to the BTS/ ACPRC, a guideline addressing specifically and more comprehensively physiotherapy interventions in asthma.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Avicenna, Good clinical practice, Medical literature


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bilastine (Bilaxten™) is a novel non-sedating H1 receptor antagonist (antihistamine) developed in the dosage form of oral tablets and indicated for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (seasonal and perennial) and urticaria. Several clinical trials have been performed in order to determine the efficacy and safety of bilastine. The aim of this trial was to study the absolute oral bioavailability of bilastine in humans. METHODS: Twelve male and female adults were recruited into a single centre for a randomized, single-dose, open-label, controlled two-arm crossover study with a minimum 14-day washout period between the two single doses. Two single doses of bilastine were administered: a 20-mg oral tablet and a 10-mg intravenous formulation. Blood and urine samples were collected between 0 and 72 h post each administration. The clinical trial was carried out under quality assurance and quality control systems with standard operating procedures to ensure that the study was conducted and data generated in compliance with the protocol, Good Clinical Practice standards, International Conference on Harmonisation and other applicable regulations. RESULTS: Oral bioavailability of bilastine was 60.67 % with a 90 % parametric confidence interval of 53.79-67.56. The maximum bilastine concentration was measured 1.31 h after oral administration. Pharmacokinetic parameters were similar to those observed in previous studies. Tolerance to treatment was good, with no adverse events related to study medication. CONCLUSION: The absorption of bilastine after oral administration to healthy subjects was rapid. The absolute oral bioavailability was moderate.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Crossover study, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Clinical trial protocol, Good clinical practice, Clinical site