Journal Article

Estimating the Relative Risk in Cohort Studies and Clinical Trials of Common Outcomes

Louise-Anne McNutt, Chuntao Wu, Xiaonan Xue and Jean Paul Hafner

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 157, issue 10, pages 940-943
Published in print May 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online May 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwg074
Estimating the Relative Risk in Cohort Studies and Clinical Trials of Common Outcomes

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Logistic regression yields an adjusted odds ratio that approximates the adjusted relative risk when disease incidence is rare (<10%), while adjusting for potential confounders. For more common outcomes, the odds ratio always overstates the relative risk, sometimes dramatically. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the incorrect application of a proposed method to estimate an adjusted relative risk from an adjusted odds ratio, which has quickly gained popularity in medical and public health research, and to describe alternative statistical methods for estimating an adjusted relative risk when the outcome is common. Hypothetical data are used to illustrate statistical methods with readily accessible computer software.

Keywords: clinical trials; cohort studies; odds ratio; relative risk

Journal Article.  2757 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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