- a comparison of the outcome between two or more groups of patients that are deliberately subjected to different regimes (usually of treatment but sometimes of a preventive measure, such as vaccination). Wherever possible those entering the trial should be allocated to their respective groups by means of random numbers, and one such group (controls) should have no active treatment (randomized controlled trial). Ideally neither the patient nor the person assessing the outcome should be aware of which therapy is allocated to which patient (blind trial), nor should the doctor responsible for treatment (double-blind trial), and the groups should exchange treatment after a prearranged period (cross-over trial).
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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