Real World Evidence (RWE) 101 – ‘Interventional’ Clinical Trial vs Non-Interventional Study

RWE 101 – ‘Interventional’ Clinical Trial vs Non-Interventional Study

Interventional Clinical Trial: In this type of study, researchers actively intervene by assigning participants to different groups, administering specific treatments, or manipulating variables. The primary objective is to assess the safety and efficacy of new interventions e.g., drug or medical device.
Key characteristics of interventional clinical trials include:
Randomization: Participants are randomly assigned to different groups, such as the experimental group receiving the intervention and the control group receiving a placebo or standard treatment.

Intervention: Researchers actively administer a specific treatment or intervention to the participants.

Control Group: There is often a control group that receives a placebo or standard treatment for comparison.

Primary Outcomes: Trials are designed to measure predefined primary outcomes, such as improvements in health outcomes, survival rates, or reduction in symptoms.

Regulatory Oversight: Interventional trials require regulatory approval and are usually subject to stricter (risk-proportionate) regulations than non-interventional studies.
Non-interventional Study: These studies focus on collecting data without any active healthcare or treatment intervention imposed by the researchers. Researchers observe and collect information from participants in their natural settings (real world settings) or through retrospective analysis of existing data (secondary use of existing data).
Key characteristics of non-interventional studies include:
Observation: Researchers observe participants and collect data without actively intervening in the healthcare management of the participant or administering any specific treatment (treatment intervention).

Natural Setting: Data is collected in the real-world clinical practice or from existing databases, medical records, surveys, or interviews.

Descriptive Analysis: Non-interventional studies often aim to describe and analyze associations, relationships, patterns, or risk factors in the population under study.

Retrospective or Prospective: Data can be collected retrospectively by analyzing past records or prospectively by following participants over time.

No Randomization: Participants are not randomly assigned to groups, and treatment decisions are made by healthcare providers according to routine clinical practice.

Regulatory Oversight: Every country regulates non-interventional studies differently. The regulatory burden can therefore be much higher than expected.
Both ‘interventional’ clinical trials and non-interventional studies play important roles in advancing medical knowledge. Interventional trials provide more rigorous evidence for evaluating new interventions, while non-interventional studies offer insights into real-world effectiveness, population health, and long-term outcomes.

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