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Table 1 Example of an evidence profile quality assessment given to the evaluators for them to grade in the pilot study. Example question: Should depressed patients in primary care be treated with SSRIs rather than tricyclics?

From: Systems for grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations II: Pilot study of a new system

Outcome: Depression severity (measured with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale)
Studies Design Quality Consistency Directness
8 trials Citalopram
38 trials Fluoxetine
25 trials Fluvoxamine
2 trials Nefazodone
18 trials Paroxetine
4 trials Sertaline
4 trials Velafaxine
RCTs No serious flaws No important inconsistency Some uncertainty about relevance (outcome measure)
Outcome: Transient side effects (drop-out from 6 week treatment)
8 trials Citalopram
50 trials Fluoxetine
27 trials Fluvoxamine
4 trials Nefazodone
23 trials Paroxetine
6 trials Sertaline
5 trials Velafaxine
RCTs No serious flaws No important inconsistency Some uncertainty about relevance (outcome measure)
Outcome: Poisoning fatalities
Office for National Statistics (British) Observational data (national statistics) Serious flaw, population based
Reporting bias
Only one study Direct