Exact group sequential designs for two-arm experiments with Poisson distributed outcome variables

We describe and compare two methods for the group sequential design of two-arm experiments with Poisson distributed data, which are based on a normal approximation and exact calculations respectively. A framework to determine near-optimal stopping boundaries is also presented. Using this framework, for a considered example, we demonstrate that a group sequential design could reduce the expected sample size under the null hypothesis by as much as 44% compared to a fixed sample approach. We conclude with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the two presented procedures.