Improving the Approach to Defining, Classifying, Reporting and Monitoring Adverse Events in Seriously Ill Older Adults: Recommendations from a Multi-stakeholder Convening

Abigail Baim-Lance, Katelyn B. Ferreira, Harvey Jay Cohen, Susan S. Ellenberg, George A. Kuchel, Christine Ritchie, Greg A. Sachs, Dalane Kitzman, R. Sean Morrison, Albert Siu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Clinical trials are needed to study topics relevant to older adults with serious illness. Investigators conducting clinical trials with this population are challenged by how to appropriately define, classify, report, and monitor serious and non-serious adverse events (SAEs/AEs), given that some traditionally reported AEs (pressure ulcers, delirium) and SAEs (death, hospitalization) are common in persons with serious illness, and may be consistent with their goals of care. Objectives: A multi-stakeholder group convened to establish greater clarity on and new approaches to address this critical issue. Participants: Thirty-two study investigators, members of regulatory and sponsor agencies, and patient stakeholders took part. Approach: The group met virtually four times and, using a collaborative approach, conducted a survey, select interviews, and reviewed regulatory guidance to collectively define the problem and identify a new approach. Results: SAE/AE challenges fell into two areas: (1) definitions and classifications, including (a) implausible relationships, (b) misalignment with patient-centered care goals, and (c) well-known associations, and (2) reporting and monitoring, including (a) limited guidance, (b) inconsistent standards across regulators, and (c) Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) member knowledge gaps. Problems largely reflected practice norms rather than regulatory requirements that already support context-specific and aggregate reporting. Approaches can be improved by adopting principles that better align strategies for addressing adverse events with the type of intervention being tested, favoring routine and aggregate over expedited reporting, and prioritizing how SAE/AEs relate to patient-centered care goals. Reporting plans and decisions should follow an algorithm underpinned by these principles. Conclusions: Adoption of the proposed approach—and supporting it with education and better alignment with regulatory guidance and procedures—could improve the quality and efficiency of clinical trials’ safety involving older adults with serious illness and other vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • adverse event reporting
  • adverse events
  • clinical trials
  • serious adverse events
  • serious illness

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