If you’re interested in what “the science” says about migraine or headache treatments, you’ll certainly be interested to know what clinical trials have been done. However, in a world that considers science to be so important, you may be shocked to know just how many problems there are with clinical trials, and how hard it can be at times to draw accurate conclusions from them.
One of the common problems is that, for many trials, no results are ever published – at least, not where you can find them.
Now just imagine if researchers had done 17 trials of migraine drug x, and that only 10 had been published? Of those 10, 7 had positive results. But wait – what if the other 10/17 (that’s 59%) had negative results? Or what if the 7 unpublished trials found problems with side effects? Wouldn’t you want to see all of the results?
For more on this challenging issues, see Are Clinical Trials Still Being “Hidden”?
In the USA, where a large number of important trials take place, steps are being taken to improve the credibility of clinical trials. In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that specifies requirements for registering certain clinical trials and submitting results of those trials.
To hear a quick explanation of the new policies, watch the video below. For more information, see this Summary of HHS/NIH Initiatives to Enhance Availability of Clinical Trial Information.