Trial Designs and Characteristics in Laser Studies in Dermatology: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Lasers are increasingly used in Dermatology. Clinical studies are among the best means to assess their efficacy.

OBJECTIVE

To obtain an overview of therapeutic laser studies in the field of Dermatology, the authors conducted a systematic review to describe the types of study published over the past 25 years, and their reporting in the abstracts.

METHODS

The authors selected interventional studies that evaluated laser treatment on human subjects with skin diseases. Reviews or single-case reports were excluded. Journal characteristics, study design, and trial characteristics were recorded and analyzed according to trends over time and journal impact factor ratings.

RESULTS

Of the 681 studies included, 57% were comparative, of which 46% were randomized, controlled studies. Trial duration was clearly mentioned in 63% of the abstracts. Trial duration was generally under 6 months (78%). Some parameters were rarely mentioned as follows: the number of patients lost to follow-up (only 12%), blinding (21%), and a clearly stated main outcome (36%). Over the 25 years, there was a significant trend toward an increased proportion of randomized, controlled trials, from 15% between 1990 and 2000 to 41% between 2010 and 2015 (p < .001).

CONCLUSION

This systematic review highlights areas for improvement in laser studies in Dermatology.

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