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Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT)

A Dictionary of Epidemiology

Miquel Porta

Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) 

A clinical-epidemiological experiment in which subjects are randomly allocated into groups, usually called test and control groups, to receive or not to receive a preventive or a therapeutic procedure or intervention. The results are assessed by comparison of rates of disease, death, recovery, or other appropriate outcome in the study groups. RCTs are generally regarded as the most scientifically rigorous method of hypothesis testing available in epidemiology and medicine. Nonetheless, they may suffer lack of Generalizability due, for example, to the non-Representativeness of patients who are ethically and practically eligible, chosen, or consent to participate.1, 2, 5, 6, 24, 26, 37, 58, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 91, 101, 110, 227, 270, 272, 641, 800 A few authors refer to this design as “randomized control trial.” See also clinical trial; community trial; experimental epidemiology.