Intended for healthcare professionals


HPV vaccine safety: Cochrane launches urgent investigation into review after criticisms

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 09 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3472
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London, UK

A Cochrane review that gave the all-clear to vaccines designed to prevent cervical cancer did not include all the relevant trials and ignored possible sources of bias, a new analysis has found.1

The review was published in May 2017 and based its conclusions on 26 studies involving 73 428 women.2 But it could have included as many as 46 trials involving more than 120 000 women, say researchers Lars Jørgensen and Peter Gøtzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, and Tom Jefferson of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford.

Cochrane reviews are meant to be the last word in evidence based medicine, winnowing out the most authoritative trials to reach conclusions on the efficacy and safety of treatments. This one provided reassuring conclusions about vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV), the …

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