Comparing treatment effects after adjustment with multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression and propensity score methods

EP Martens, A (Antonius) Boer, WR Pestman, SV Belitser, Bruno Stricker, OH Klungel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose To compare adjusted effects of drug treatment for hypertension on the risk of stroke from propensity score (PS) methods with a multivariable Cox proportional hazards (Cox PH) regression in an observational study with censored data. Methods From two prospective population-based cohort studies in The Netherlands a selection of subjects was used who either received drug treatment for hypertension (n = 1293) or were untreated 'candidates' for treatment (n = 954). A multivariable Cox PH was performed on the risk of stroke using eight covariates along with three PS methods. Results In multivariable Cox PH regression the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for treatment was 0.64 (CI95%: 0.42, 0.98). After stratification on the PS the HR was 0.58 (CI95%: 0.38, 0.89). Matching on the PS yielded a HR of 0.49 (CI95%: 0.27, 0,88), whereas adjustment with a continuous PS gave similar results as Cox regression. When more covariates were added (not possible in multivariable Cox model) a similar reduction in HR was reached by all PS methods. The inclusion of a simulated balanced covariate gave largest changes in HR using the multivariable Cox model and matching on the PS. Conclusions In PS methods in general a larger number of confounders can be used. In this data set matching on the PS is sensitive to small changes in the model, probably because of the small number of events. Stratification, and covariate adjustment, were less sensitive to the inclusion of a non-confounder than multivariable Cox PH regression. Attention should be paid to PS model building and balance checking. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-01-64-03
  • EMC NIHES-03-77-02

Cite this