Clinical Research Glossary

placebo-controlled study placebo-controlled study


A study with two or more groups where one group is given a placebo.

Example of placebo-controlled study in a sentence

Placebo-controlled trials are done to show how the study treatment performs compared to those not receiving the study treatment

More Info

A placebo-controlled study compares an active treatment to something that made to look, taste and smell like the active treatment. Using a placebo helps the researcher see whether the active study treatment really works.

Placebo-controlled trials are usually only done when the risk of not offering an active treatment for a condition is small or when there is no effective standard of care to use as the comparison.

Other info to think about when joining a study

You will see the term “placebo-controlled study” if the research is using a placebo as a control group.

If you are considering joining a study that has a placebo, you can ask how the researchers decide who gets the placebo. You can also ask if the study team will tell you what you were taking at the end of the study. You can also ask how the researchers will notify your own doctor about what you are taking in the study if there is a medical reason to know.

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