Noncompliance, a common problem in randomized clinical trials (RCTs), can bias estimation of the effect of treatment receipt using a standard intention-to-treat analysis. The complier average causal effect (CACE) measures the effect of an intervention in the latent subpopulation that would comply with their assigned treatment. Although several methods have been developed to estimate the CACE in analyzing a single RCT, methods for estimating the CACE in a meta-analysis of RCTs with noncompliance await further development. This article reviews the assumptions needed to estimate the CACE in a single RCT and proposes a frequentist alternative for estimating the CACE in a meta-analysis, using a generalized linear latent and mixed model with SAS software (SAS Institute, Inc.). The method accounts for between-study heterogeneity using random effects. We implement the methods and describe an illustrative example of a meta-analysis of 10 RCTs evaluating the effect of receiving epidural analgesia in labor on cesarean delivery, where noncompliance varies dramatically between studies. Simulation studies are used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method.
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved.
- complier average causal effect
- generalized linear latent and mixed model
- randomized clinical trials