A comparison of the random-effects pattern mixture model with last-observation-carried-forward (LOCF) analysis in longitudinal clinical trials with dropouts

O Siddiqui, M W Ali
Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics 1998, 8 (4): 545-63
The last-observation-carried-forward imputation method is commonly used for imputting data missing due to dropouts in longitudinal clinical trials. The method assumes that outcome remains constant at the last observed value after dropout, which is unlikely in many clinical trials. Recently, random-effects regression models have become popular for analysis of longitudinal clinical trial data with dropouts. However, inference obtained from random-effects regression models is valid when the missing-at-random dropout process is present. The random-effects pattern-mixture model, on the other hand, provides an approach that is valid under more general missingness mechanisms. In this article we describe the use of random-effects pattern-mixture models under different patterns for dropouts. First, subjects are divided into groups depending on their missing-data patterns, and then model parameters are estimated for each pattern. Finally, overall estimates are obtained by averaging over the missing-data patterns and corresponding standard errors are obtained using the delta method. A typical longitudinal clinical trial data set is used to illustrate and compare the above methods of data analyses in the presence of missing data due to dropouts.

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