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Definition of Terms Used to Talk About Clinical Trials

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As you read about clinical trials, you might see the following terms used:

  • Protocol: The plan that describes how the clinical trial will be done and its goals.
  • Double-blind or Double-blinded: If a trial is double-blinded, it means that neither the doctors nor the participants know which treatment any of the participants are getting. Double-blinding keeps the study objective and helps prevent bias.
  • Informed consent: Researchers must explain the clinical trial's protocol to the potential participants. The researchers also must tell the potential participant about any possible risks and benefits of participating in the trial. This information allows the person to decide whether or not to participate in the trial.
  • Placebo: A sugar pill that might be given to some participants in a trial.
  • Control group: The group of people in a trial who are getting the treatment that is the current standard of care or a placebo.
  • Intervention group: The group of people in a trial who are getting the new treatment that is being studied.
  • Randomized or Randomization: If a trial is randomized, it means that the participants are randomly assigned to receive a specific treatment.

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