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Table 4 Characteristics of seven statistically significant age-treatment interactions reported by authors

From: Age-treatment subgroup analyses in Cochrane intervention reviews: a meta-epidemiological study

Comparison Population characteristics Outcome Primary outcome* Specified in methods? Reported age subgroup levels Effect size [95% CI] RCTs per subgroup level RCTs across all levels§ P value Biological/clinical rationale
Botulinum toxin vs surgery (2017) Children and adults with strabismus suitable for treatment with botulinum toxin to align the angle of deviation Improved ocular alignment ≤ 10 prism dioptres Yes No Children RR 0.91 [0.71, 1.16] 2 0 0.04 No
Adults RR 0.38 [0.17, 0.85] 1
Digital intervention vs no/minimal intervention (2017) Individuals in the community with hazardous or harmful alcohol consumptions directed toward any digital intervention Quantity of drinking (grams/week), based on the longest follow-up Yes Yes Adolescents/young adults MD − 13.44 [− 19.27, − 7.61] 28 0 0.002 No
Adults MD − 56.05 [− 82.08, − 30.02] 14
Supplementary feeding vs comparator by age of children (2012) Children from low- and middle-income countries born at term, from birth to 5 years old Weight gain (kg) during the intervention Yes Yes Children younger than 24 months MD − 0.01 [− 0.09, 0.07] 4 0 0.008 No
Children older than 24 months MD 0.22 [0.07, 0.37] 1
Diet plus physical activity vs comparator (2017) Individuals diagnosed with intermediate hyperglycemia or prediabetes at increased risk of developing type II diabetes mellitus Incidence of type 2 diabetes Yes Yes Ages < 50 years RR 0.70 [0.57, 0.85] 2 0 0.009 No
Ages ≥ 50 years RR 0.50 [0.44, 0.58] 9
2-h plasma glucose No Yes Ages < 50 years MD − 1.62 [− 2.49, − 0.76] 2 0 0.003 No
Ages ≥ 50 years MD − 0.27 [− 0.49, − 0.05] 7
Colony-stimulating factor plus antibiotics vs antibiotics alone (2014) Individuals undergoing chemotherapy for cancer who experienced neutropenia and fever Time to neutrophil recovery No Yes Children RR 0.80 [0.66, 0.97] 1 0 0.02 No
Adults RR 0.45 [0.29, 0.70] 5
Fluticasone propionate vs beclomethasone dipropionate or budesonide, parallel-group studies: dose ratio 1:2 subgroup by age (2007) Children (> 2 years) and adults with a clinical diagnosis of asthma Change in Forced Expiratory Volume 1 compared to baseline Unclear Yes Children MD − 0.04 [− 0.10, 0.02] 2 0 0.02 No
Adults MD 0.04 [0.00 0.08] 10
  1. MD mean difference, RCT randomized controlled trial, RR risk ratio
  2. *Is the outcome for this analysis specified as the primary outcome in the text of the review?
  3. Is the age-treatment subgroup analysis outlined in the Methods section of the review?
  4. Effect sizes are reported using the statistical methods specified in the forest plot
  5. §Subgroups with RCTs that include data for all subgroup levels of the analysis
  6. Did the reviews discuss the subgroup analyses and provided clinical or biological rationale?
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