This Week In The Bmj

Trial outcomes are applicable to all comparable patients

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 19 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:0-a

Patients who participate in randomised controlled trials do no better and no worse than patients receiving the same or similar treatment outside trials. In a systematic review, Vist and colleagues (p 1175) analysed comparisons of outcomes in five randomised controlled trials and 50 cohort studies that provided data for 31 140 patients treated within trials and 20 380 comparable patients treated outside trials. Overall, neither dichotomous nor continuous outcomes showed statistically significant differences. The results of randomised controlled trials are therefore applicable to comparable patients in usual clinical practice, say the authors.

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