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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 43  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 371-374

Non-inferiority clinical trials: Practical issues and current regulatory perspective

Clinical Pharmacologist, J-1044, First Floor, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep K Gupta
Clinical Pharmacologist, J-1044, First Floor, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.83103

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Non-inferiority clinical trials are being performed with an increasing frequency now-a-days, because it helps in finding a new treatment that have approximately the same efficacy, but may offer other benefits such as better safety profile. Non-inferiority clinical trials aim to demonstrate that the test product is no worse than the comparator by more than a pre-specified small amount. There are several fundamental differences between non-inferiority and superiority trials. Some practical issues concerning the non-inferiority trials are assay sensitivity, choice of the non-inferiority margin, sample size estimation, choice of active-control, and analysis of non-inferiority clinical trials. For serious infections such as hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia/ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia, community-acquired bacterial pneumonia, and acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has recently recommended that it is possible to define a reliable and consistent estimate of the efficacy of active treatment relative to placebo from available data, which can serve as the basis for defining a new inferiority margin for an active-controlled, non-inferiority trial. But for some indications with a high rate of resolution without antibacterial drug therapy such as acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS), acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (ABECB), and acute bacterial otitis media (ABOM), the US FDA has recommended that the available data will not support the use of a non-inferiority design and other trial designs (i.e., superiority designs) should be used to provide the evidence of effectiveness in these three indications.


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