A management system for randomized clinical trials: A novel way to supply medication

Mauro Cortellini, Alice Casagrande, Giuseppe Fornaciari, Daniela Del Sette, Giuliana Gargano, Maria Gaetana Di Mauro, Gabriella Saibene, Eleonora Bruno, Anna Villarini, Elisabetta Venturelli, Franco Berrino, Ivan Baldassari, Andreina Oliverio, Patrizia Pasanisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Randomized controlled clinical trials require management effort, involving huge organizational, economic and informatics investments. Information technology offers opportunities to approach clinical trial methodology in new ways. However, there are only a few reports of computerized data and drug management systems. Objective This paper describes a novel software created specifically for the management of a randomized trial of diet and metformin in people with metabolic syndrome (the Me.Me.Me. trial). Methods Me.Me.Me. is an ongoing phase III randomized controlled trial in healthy people with metabolic syndrome to test the hypothesis that comprehensive lifestyle changes and/or metformin can prevent age-related chronic non-communicable diseases. To manage all the phases of the trial, we created a software which is a state pattern machine, user friendly, web-based, able to maintain the correct balance between randomization groups, and structured in various levels of security in order to guarantee the participant’s privacy and compliance with the study protocol. The software achieves budget savings: drug management is not based on patients’ packs, but on the actual need for drugs according to each participant’s “state”, with strict guidelines for the handling and supply of medication. Results The trial is ongoing and recruitment will close on August 31, 2018. To date, 11737 bottles of metformin/placebo have been dispensed to 1054 randomized participants, with drug savings of 29.5%. Conclusions A software which takes into account the “state” of participant might be a powerful resource for developing and managing clinical trials, helping avoid poor treatment allocation, and wastage of drugs and money.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0212475
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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