Comparing multiple interventions with network meta-analysis

Core Methods Workshop

Workshop category: 

  • Other review formats (e.g. overviews of reviews, network meta-analysis)
Date and Location


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Chaimani A1, Li T2
1 Paris Descartes University, Cochrane France, France
2 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA


Salanti G1, Higgins J2, Caldwell D2
1 University of Bern, Switzerland,
2 University of Bristol, UK,
Target audience

Target audience: 

Cochrane authors, editors, methodologists and statisticians

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Background: standard meta-analysis methods for clinical trials focus on comparisons of two interventions, such as a drug versus placebo, or a new intervention versus standard practice. In clinical practice, there are rarely only two interventions under consideration. Extensions of meta-analysis to address three or more treatments have been the subject of much methodological research in recent years, and are increasingly being applied. Most simply, indirect comparisons can be performed in ways that respect the randomization within each clinical trial. More complex forms are the so-called network meta-analyses, also known as multiple treatments meta-analyses or mixed treatment comparison meta-analyses. These allow the simultaneous analysis of clinical trials involving different treatments.

Objectives: to introduce the concepts and methods of indirect comparison and network meta-analysis in the context of a Cochrane systematic Review, following the new Chapter in the Cochrane Handbook of Systematic Reviews of Interventions, drafted by the Cochrane Comparing Multiple Interventions Methods Group (CMIMG)

Description: this workshop is aimed at statisticians, epidemiologists and other quantitatively-minded researchers who want to understand state-of-the-art statistical syntheses of clinical trials involving multiple interventions. The workshop will provide insights into network meta-analysis models that can be used to derive estimates for the relative effects of all treatments of interest. By the end of this workshop participants will have an understanding of the role and potential of indirect comparisons and network meta-analysis in the evaluation of healthcare interventions; the principles, steps and statistical methods involved and the biases that can distort indirect comparisons and network meta-analysis.