If well-designed, longitudinal observational studies (LOSs) can provide insights to the linkages between real-world outcomes and their multilevel determinants. In this article, some of the scientific and methodologic issues related to LOSs in pharmacotherapeutic evaluations are discussed. A case of such a study in the treatment of mild to moderate dementia is provided - a case in which a pharmaceutic sponsor addressing a medical question (long-term effectiveness) realized that caring for patients who have Alzheimer's disease involves the clinical community of caregivers, physicians, families, nurses, psychologists, and pharmacists, among others, and partnered with nurse researchers to design their inquiry. The authors conclude by presenting an argument for nurses to take the lead in effectiveness research.
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