What proportion of dermatological patients receive evidence-based treatment?

D. Abeni, C. R. Girardelli, C. Masini, R. Aprea, C. F. Melchi, P. Puddu, P. Pasquini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the proportion of dermatological patients who are offered evidence-based therapy in the routine dermatological practice. Methods: For every patient seen for the first time at one of our tertiary hospital setting clinics between April and May 1999, the primary diagnosis and the primary intervention were recorded. For each primary diagnosis-primary intervention combination, evidence was searched for in electronic databases from January 1966 to December 1999. The proportion of patients who were offered evidence-based interventions was calculated as the main outcome measure. Results: With a study sample of 136 patients, 61 different diagnosis-treatment couples were generated and 94 queries on electronic databases were performed (to account for "primary interventions" including more than 1 drug or treatment modality). Eighty-seven (64%) of 136 patients received evidence-based interventions. Evidence from randomized controlled trials was found for 69 patients (50.7% of the sample). Controlled studies lacking randomization or double blinding or including fewer than 20 patients per treatment group dealt with treatments offered to 14 patients (10.3%). The treatments offered to 4 patients (2.9%) were judged to have self-evident validity (ie, trials unanimously judged unnecessary). Symptomatic and supportive measures accounted for most interventions lacking substantial evidence (36% of the patients), but we had to include in this class other important treatment regimens, mainly for rare conditions. Conclusions: Most of the study patients received evidence-based care. However, published trials should be carefully appraised, and relevance of clinical end points should be evaluated together with methodological issues. More accessible, clinically oriented, evidence-based information sources are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-776
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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