Box 14.7.a: The Cochrane Adverse Effects Methods Group

The Adverse Effects Methods Group (AEMG) provides methodological guidance on the appropriate techniques for the identification and systematic assessment of adverse effects. The origins of the AEMG date back almost a decade to the informal meetings of a few individuals who were involved in systematically evaluating the harmful effects of interventions. This led, in January 2001, to the formation of the Adverse Effect Subgroup as part of the Non-Randomised Studies Methods Group. In June 2007, the Adverse Effects Methods Group (AEMG) was officially registered.


The fundamental tenet of the AEMG is that every healthcare intervention carries some risk of harm. In order to reach a fully-informed decision, treatment choices need to be supported by a systematic assessment of benefits and harms. Reviews that focus mainly on treatment benefit, together with lack of information on harmful effects, would create difficulties for people who are trying to make balanced decisions. The AEMG aims to redress this imbalance, and aims to collaborate with Review Groups and Methods Groups to improve the methodology and quality of adverse effects analyses. The AEMG will be happy to look into any areas of methodological uncertainty that require further research, and hopes to develop and disseminate appropriate ways of filling any gaps that are identified.


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