gms | German Medical Science

Klasse statt Masse – wider die wertlose Wissenschaft: 18. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin

Deutsches Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

09.03. - 11.03.2017, Hamburg

Industry sponsorship in trials on fluoride varnish or gels for caries prevention

Meeting Abstract

Klasse statt Masse – wider die wertlose Wissenschaft. 18. Jahrestagung des Deutschen Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin. Hamburg, 09.-11.03.2017. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2017. Doc17ebmP6c

doi: 10.3205/17ebm089, urn:nbn:de:0183-17ebm0891

Veröffentlicht: 23. Februar 2017

© 2017 Reda et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open-Access-Artikel und steht unter den Lizenzbedingungen der Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (Namensnennung). Lizenz-Angaben siehe



Objectives: Fluoride is effective for caries prevention, but trials on fluoride varnish or gels (FV/FG) are often industry-sponsored. We assessed trial design and findings in sponsored and non-sponsored trials on FV/FG for caries prevention.

Methods: Data on trials included in the most recent Cochrane Reviews on FG/FV were extracted. Sample sizes/age/dentition, year/country of publication, follow-up, test and control, risk of bias and spin (claims of a beneficial effect that were not supported by reported data) were assessed. Studies were categorized as certainly, possibly and not sponsored, and statistically compared. Inverse-generic meta-analysis and multivariable weighted least-squares meta-regression were used to assess impact of sponsorship status on effect estimates.

Results: Based on 16 non-sponsored, 18 possibly sponsored and 10 certainly sponsored trials, sponsored studies were published significantly earlier, always had >1 test group, and had significantly lower risk of spin. Caries preventive effects were higher in earlier trials, with sponsorship bias present if assessing only trials published until 1990 (there were no sponsored trials afterwards). If assessing the overall body of evidence and accounting for confounders, the caries preventive effect was significantly associated with year of publication (β: -0.06, 95% CI: -0.10/-0.02), but not sponsorship status.

Conclusions: The lower efficacy of fluoride varnish or gels on today’s populations should be considered for decision-making, while industry-sponsorship bias had limited impact on the overall evidence.