gms | German Medical Science

24. Jahrestagung des Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V. (EbM-Netzwerk)

22. - 24.03.2023, Potsdam

Clinical utility of overviews on adverse events of pharmacological interventions

Meeting Abstract

  • Thilo Sachse - Witten/Herdecke University, Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, Deutschland
  • Salmaan Kanji - The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Kanada
  • Pierre Thabet - Hôpital Montfort, Kanada
  • Sven Schmiedl - Helios University Hospital Wuppertal, Philipp Klee-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Wuppertal, Deutschland
  • Petra Thürmann - Helios University Hospital Wuppertal, Philipp Klee-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Wuppertal, Deutschland
  • Fadi Guirguis - The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Kanada
  • Shellyza Sajwani - The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Kanada
  • Marie-France Gauthier - Hôpital Montfort, Kanada
  • Carole Lunny - Unity Health Toronto, Knowledge Translation Program, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Kanada
  • Tim Mathes - University Medical Center Göttingen, Institute for Medical Statistics, Göttingen, Deutschland
  • Dawid Pieper - Brandenburg Medical School (Theodor Fontane), Institute for Health Services and Health System Research, Deutschland; Witten/Herdecke University, Institute for Research in Operateive Medicine, Deutschland

Gesundheit und Klima – EbM für die Zukunft. 24. Jahrestagung des Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin. Potsdam, 22.-24.03.2023. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2023. Doc23ebmPSI-4-06

doi: 10.3205/23ebm056, urn:nbn:de:0183-23ebm0567

Published: March 21, 2023

© 2023 Sachse et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background/research question: Overviews (i.e., systematic reviews of systematic reviews, meta-reviews, umbrella reviews) are a relatively new type of evidence synthesis. Among others, one reason to conduct an overview is to investigate adverse events (AEs) associated with a healthcare intervention. Overviews aim to provide easily accessible information for healthcare decision-makers including clinicians. We aimed to investigate the clinical utility of overviews investigating AEs.

Methods: We used a sample of 27 overviews exclusively investigating drug-related adverse events published until 2021 identified in a prior project. We defined clinical utility as the extent to which overviews are perceived to be useful in clinical practice. Each included overview was assigned to one of seven pharmacological experts with expertise on the topic of the overview. The clinical utility and value of these overviews was determined using a self-developed assessment tool. This included four open-ended questions and a ranking of three clinical utility statements completed by clinicians. We calculated frequencies for the ranked clinical utility statements and coded the answers to the open-ended questions using an inductive approach.

Results: The overall agreement with the provided statements was high. According to the assessments, 67% of the included overviews generated new knowledge. In 93% of the assessments, the overviews were found to add value to the existing literature. The overviews were rated as more useful than the individual included systematic reviews (SRs) in 85% of the assessments. The answers to the open-ended questions revealed two key aspects of clinical utility in the included overviews. Firstly, it was considered useful that they provide a summary of available evidence (e.g., along with additional assessments, or across different populations or in different settings that have not been evaluated together in the included SRs). Secondly, it was found useful if overviews conducted a new meta-analysis to answer specific research questions that had not been answered previously.

Conclusion: Overviews on drug-related AEs are considered valuable for clinical practice by clinicians. They can make available evidence on AEs more accessible and provide a comprehensive view of available evidence. As the role of overviews evolves, investigations such as this can identify areas of value.

Competing interests: none