Statisticians in 2015 analyzed real world data, hundreds of thousands of medical insurance claims involving people with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, according to the Pfizer PowerPoint obtained by The Post. They divided those anonymous patients into two equal groups of 127,000 each, one of patients with an Alzheimer's diagnosis and one of patients without. Then they checked for Enbrel treatment. There were more people, 302, treated with Enbrel in the group without Alzheimer's diagnosis. In the group with Alzheimer's, 110 had been treated with Enbrel.

From this excerpt, it appears that the researchers used a case control design.

However, wouldn’t they get better results if they used a retrospective cohort design? As in, they select patients who received Enbrel without Alzheimer’s (AD) and non-Enbrel takers without Alzheimer’s and have the outcome as diagnosis of AD? We would then probably need to get an appropriate control group to match the clinical and demographic characteristics of Enbrel takers.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing a case control study vs a retrospective cohort study? What would be the ideal study design for a RWE study aimed at assessing something like this?


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