This Week In The Bmj

Single patient trials may guide treatment

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 26 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0-d

When evidence on treatment effectiveness is lacking, single patient trials may guide treatment in individual cases. Harker and colleagues (p 503) give the denouement of an interactive case report in which a woman was given vitamin B-6 alternatively with placebo to alleviate pregnancy related nausea, vomiting, and lightheadedness. The trial showed that vitamin B-6 was ineffective. N = 1 trials may be useful when evidence to support treatment is poor or equivocal, the authors say, and may help patients and doctors decide about further treatment.