Sample size determination for testing equality in Poisson frequency data under an AB/BA crossover trial

Kung-Jong Lui
Pharmaceutical Statistics 2013, 12 (2): 74-81
Assuming that the frequency of occurrence follows the Poisson distribution, we develop sample size calculation procedures for testing equality based on an exact test procedure and an asymptotic test procedure under an AB/BA crossover design. We employ Monte Carlo simulation to demonstrate the use of these sample size formulae and evaluate the accuracy of sample size calculation formula derived from the asymptotic test procedure with respect to power in a variety of situations. We note that when both the relative treatment effect of interest and the underlying intraclass correlation between frequencies within patients are large, the sample size calculation based on the asymptotic test procedure can lose accuracy. In this case, the sample size calculation procedure based on the exact test is recommended. On the other hand, if the relative treatment effect of interest is small, the minimum required number of patients per group will be large, and the asymptotic test procedure will be valid for use. In this case, we may consider use of the sample size calculation formula derived from the asymptotic test procedure to reduce the number of patients needed for the exact test procedure. We include an example regarding a double-blind randomized crossover trial comparing salmeterol with a placebo in exacerbations of asthma to illustrate the practical use of these sample size formulae.

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