Intended for healthcare professionals

Endgames Statistical question

Intention to treat analyses

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 09 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3603
  1. Philip M Sedgwick, senior lecturer
  1. 1St George’s Hospital, University of London, London SW17 0RE
  1. p.sedgwick{at}

    A randomised double blind controlled trial compared the efficacy and tolerability of fluoxetine with paroxetine in patients with major depression. Owing to adverse effects, some patients in each treatment group changed medication during the study. Treatment groups were compared using the intention to treat principle.

    Which one of the following statements best describes the principle of intention to treat?

    • a) All patients compared received the treatment the recruiting clinician had originally intended prior to trial recruitment.

    • b) The two groups of patients were compared on the basis of the treatment …

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