Network meta-analyses (NMAs) are a methods, which allows indirect comparisons of several medications. Indirect comparisons play an important role in the assessment of the cost-benefit ratio of drugs.

This talk starts with important basic concepts in the field of systematic reviews and classic meta-analyses (fixed and random effects models). Afterwards, the simple indirect comparison of Bucher is reviewed in more detail. NMAs represent an expansion of this approach. The lecture conveys the network meta-analysis’ functioning and shows possibilities for its implementation. Moreover, further complex methods like the Bayesian methods are presented, which enable the assignment of probabilities for ranks to a medication (e.g. the probability for being the best of all compared medications), or methods that take trials with more than two treatment arms into account.