Sample size estimation for comparing rates of change in K-group repeated count outcomes

Ying Lou, Jing Cao, Chul Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sample size estimation for comparing the rates of change in two-arm repeated measurements has been investigated by many investigators. In contrast, the literature has paid relatively less attention to sample size estimation for studies with multi-arm repeated measurements where the design and data analysis can be more complex than two-arm trials. For continuous outcomes, Jung and Ahn (2004) and Zhang and Ahn (2013) have presented sample size formulas to compare the rates of change and time-averaged responses in multi-arm trials, using the generalized estimating equation (GEE) approach. To our knowledge, there has been no corresponding development for multi-arm trials with count outcomes. We present a sample size formula for comparing the rates of change in multi-arm repeated count outcomes using the GEE approach that accommodates various correlation structures, missing data patterns, and unbalanced designs. We conduct simulation studies to assess the performance of the proposed sample size formula under a wide range of designing configurations. Simulation results suggest that empirical type I error and power are maintained close to their nominal levels. The proposed method is illustrated using an epileptic clinical trial example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11204-11213
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications in Statistics - Theory and Methods
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 17 2017


  • Clinical trials
  • GEE
  • repeated count outcomes
  • sample size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability


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