COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Targeted maximum likelihood estimation in safety analysis

Samuel D Lendle, Bruce Fireman, Mark J van der Laan
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2013, 66 (8): S91-8
23849159

OBJECTIVES: To compare the performance of a targeted maximum likelihood estimator (TMLE) and a collaborative TMLE (CTMLE) to other estimators in a drug safety analysis, including a regression-based estimator, propensity score (PS)-based estimators, and an alternate doubly robust (DR) estimator in a real example and simulations.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: The real data set is a subset of observational data from Kaiser Permanente Northern California formatted for use in active drug safety surveillance. Both the real and simulated data sets include potential confounders, a treatment variable indicating use of one of two antidiabetic treatments and an outcome variable indicating occurrence of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

RESULTS: In the real data example, there is no difference in AMI rates between treatments. In simulations, the double robustness property is demonstrated: DR estimators are consistent if either the initial outcome regression or PS estimator is consistent, whereas other estimators are inconsistent if the initial estimator is not consistent. In simulations with near-positivity violations, CTMLE performs well relative to other estimators by adaptively estimating the PS.

CONCLUSION: Each of the DR estimators was consistent, and TMLE and CTMLE had the smallest mean squared error in simulations.

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