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January 2022

On the mathematical basis of Zelen's prerandomized designs

Author(s): Neumann, N.

Journal/Book: Methods of Information in Medicine. 1985; 24: 120-130.

Abstract: The mathematical basis of Zelen's suggestion [4] of prerandomizing patients in a clinical trial and then asking them for their consent is investigated. The first problem is to estimate the therapy and selection effects. In the simple prerandomized design (PRD) this is possible without any problems. Similar observations have been made by Anbar [1] and McHugh [3]. However, for the double PRD additional assumptions are needed in order to render therapy and selection effects estimable. The second problem is to determine the distribution of the statistics. It has to be taken into consideration that the sample sizes are random variables in the PRDs. This is why the distribution of the statistics can only be determined asymptotically, even under the assumption of normal distribution. The behaviour of the statistics for small samples is investigated by means of simulations, where the statistics considered in the present paper are compared with the statistics suggested by Ihm [2]. It turns out that the statistics suggested in [2] may lead to anticonservative decisions, whereas the "canonical statistics" suggested by Zelen [4] and considered in the present paper keep the level quite well or may lead to slightly conservative decisions, if there are considerable selection effects.

Keyword(s): Klinische Studie


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