randomized controlled trial

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ran·dom·i·zed con·trolled tri·al (RCT),

an epidemiologic experiment in which subjects in a population are allocated randomly into groups, called "experimental" or "study" and "control" groups to receive or not receive an experimental therapeutic or preventive regimen, procedure, maneuver, or intervention.

ran·dom·i·zed con·trolled tri·al

(RCT) (ran'dŏm-īzd kŏn-trōld trī'ăl)
A type of experiment that randomly assigns subjects to various interventions, including a control group, in order to minimize the risk of bias.
See also: control group

randomized controlled trial

Abbreviation: RCT
An experimental study to assess the effects of a particular variable, e.g., a drug or treatment, in which subjects are assigned randomly to an experimental, placebo, or control group. The experimental group receives the drug or procedure; the placebo group's medication is disguised to resemble the drug being investigated. The control group receives nothing. Members of each group are prevented from knowing whether they are receiving active therapy. The researchers gathering the data are also typically blinded to group assignment.


Although RCTs are an essential element in proving clinical relationships (such as between the use of a new drug and the safe cure of a disease), most RCTs do not enroll enough patients for a long enough time to detect rare events.
See also: trial

trial, randomized controlled (RCT) 

An experimental design used for testing the effectiveness of a new medication or a new therapeutic procedure. Individuals are assigned randomly to a treatment group (experimental therapy) and a control group (placebo or standard therapy) and the outcomes are compared. The trial is strengthened by 'blinding' or masking (single-blind, double-blind or triple-blind study) and cross-over design. RCT is the most accepted scientific method of determining the benefit of a drug or a therapeutic procedure. It represents the best evidence available, which is integrated into the final decision about the management of a condition by healthcare practitioners in what is called evidence-based healthcare. Syn. randomized clinical trial. See sampling; significance; study.
References in periodicals archive ?
All published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) after 1995 with sample size more than 100 and were published in English comparing the effectiveness of laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair with open mesh inguinal hernia repair were eligible for inclusion.
Next they compared CHD rates in subjects with each of the nine SNPs to rates in statin-treated patients included in a large meta-analysis of statin randomized controlled trials that was carried out by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists' Collaboration.
Lowest effective transdermal 17beta-estradiol dose for relief of hot flushes in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial.
Department of Education funded three randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies to evaluate potential benefits on student achievement.
In this multicenter randomized controlled trial, the investigators compared 2 dosing regimens of tinidazole with placebo for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in 235 women at 10 geographically diverse US centers.
1) The strongest predictors of female condom use that emerged in a randomized controlled trial of a multisite intervention aimed at reducing women's risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were having had instruction and skills training, and intending to use the method.
1b: Individual randomized controlled trial (with narrow confidence interval)
The study was a randomized controlled trial that included 219 eighth-grade students in nine middle schools in one California school district.
Effect of nonoxynol-9 on urogenital gonorrhea and chlamydial infection: a randomized controlled trial, JAMA, 2002, 287(9):1117-1122.
The purpose of this Guide is to advise researchers, policymakers, and others on when it is possible to conduct a high-quality randomized controlled trial in education at reduced cost.

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