Concluding remarks

Within the process of guideline development, conducting specific systematic reviews or updating existing ones will usually represent the optimum means of summarising evidence on the effects of interventions. Such reviews will be focused on the subject area of the guideline and the needs of the guideline group, and can be tailored to the clinical questions that they pose. There will be occasions when available systematic reviews will represent the best available evidence, and their use will be necessary when resources are inadequate to conduct a new review. Under these circumstances they may be incorporated into the guideline, but the strength of subsequent recommendations may need to be lowered to reflect any shortcomings of the review.

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