9.6.8  Dose-response analyses

The principles of meta-regression can be applied to the relationships between intervention effect and dose (commonly termed dose-response), treatment intensity or treatment duration (Greenland 1992, Berlin 1993). Conclusions about differences in effect due to differences in dose (or similar factors) are on strongest ground if participants are randomized to one dose or another within a study and a consistent relationship is found across similar studies. While authors should consider these effects, particularly as a possible explanation for heterogeneity, they should be cautious about drawing conclusions based on between-study differences. Authors should be particularly cautious about claiming that a dose-response relationship does not exist, given the low power of many meta-regression analyses to detect genuine relationships.