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Evaluation of the methodological quality of the Health Protection Agency's 2009 guidance on neuraminidase inhibitors

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Abstract:

Background: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued guidance advocating the prescription of neuraminidase inhibitors in July 2009 in response to a predicted pandemic of influenza. Although the contents of the guidance have been debated, the methodology has not.

Method: The guidance was evaluated by two reviewers using a validated and internationally recognised tool for assessing guidelines, the Appraisal of Guidelines Research & Evaluation instrument (AGREE). This tool scores six domains independently of each other.

Results: The guidance scored 61% for the domain scope and purpose and 54% for the domain clarity and presentation. By contrast, it scored only 31% for rigour of development due to poor linkage of its recommendations to evidence.

Conclusion: The HPA should improve its performance in this domain to general practitioners in order to improve the credibility of its future guidance.

Keywords: ANTIVIRAL AGENTS; GENERAL PRACTICE; HUMAN INFLUENZA; PRACTICE GUIDELINES; PRIMARY CARE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Honorary Senior Lecturer, Norwich Medical School, Norwich and GP, Leiston Surgery, Leiston, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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