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Controlled Clinical Trial - Definition of Controlled Clinical Trial


Updated December 01, 2009

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A controlled clinical trial is a type of treatment research study in which a treatment (for example, a medication, or a type of psychotherapy) is compared to a control group. This control group may be either another active treatment (e.g., another medication), a non-active treatment (e.g., a sugar pill), or some other type of control group (e.g., individuals who have been placed on a waiting list).

When you are considering treatment options, one factor you should consider is whether the treatment has been supported by controlled clinical trials — these are among the most rigorous forms of treatment studies, because they help to rule out the possibility that people receiving the treatment just naturally got better over time (and not because of the treatment), or that some factor other than the treatment being studied might account for the effects seen in patients.

Also Known As: randomized controlled trial, placebo-controlled trial
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