Aim: To determine the appropriate size of risk windows in both exposed and unexposed subcohorts.
Method: Data was taken from a previous study of upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage and perforation. The length of each prescription for NSAIDs was estimated. The risk was calculated for the duration of a prescription plus increments of -30, -25, ..., +115, +120 (i.e. 31 increments). Ten unexposed groups were re-sampled for each increment (stratified for age and sex), using the same lengths of risk window as the exposed group. Mean risks and rate-ratios were calculated (per thousand person-years).
Results: The NSAID risk rose from 3.52 at -30 days to a peak of 5.82 at -15 days, and then decreased gradually to 2.83 at +120 days. Unexposed risk was variable for the negative increments, and decreased gradually from 2.16 at +0 days to 1.54 at +120 days. The rate-ratio rose from 1.55 at -30 days to a peak of 2.85 at -5 days, and then decreased to 1.85 at +120 days.
Conclusion: Risk windows should be the same as (or slightly less than) the calculated length of a prescription. Lengthy windows should not be used for unexposed comparator groups (the exposed windows may be randomly allocated).
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1998|
- Cohort study
- Risk window
- Unexposed group