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EPIB-619: Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses

RCT search filters for MEDLINE on Ovid, EMBASE on Ovid, and PubMed

Use these pre-formulated search strategies (database-specific) to increase the sensitivity of a search for randomized controlled trials. to do so, just copy and paste the appropriate strategy into the database search box:

RCT search filters/hedges

PubMed highly sensitive filter/hedge for RCTs, modified with addition of randomised[tiab]:

((randomized controlled trial[pt]) OR (controlled clinical trial[pt]) OR (randomized[tiab] OR randomised[tiab]) OR (placebo[tiab]) OR (drug therapy[sh]) OR (randomly[tiab]) OR (trial[tiab]) OR (groups[tiab])) NOT (animals[mh] NOT humans[mh])


Box 6.4.a,


MEDLINE on Ovid highly sensitive filter/hedge for RCTs, modified with addition of randomised.ab.

((randomized controlled trial or controlled clinical trial).pt. or randomized.ab. or randomised.ab. or placebo.ab. or drug therapy.fs. or randomly.ab. or trial.ab. or groups.ab.) not (exp animals/ not


Box 6.4.c,


Embase on Ovid filter/hedge for controlled trials:

crossover-procedure/ or double-blind procedure/ or randomized controlled trial/ or single-blind procedure/ or (random* or factorial* or crossover* or cross over* or placebo* or (doubl* adj blind*) or (singl* adj blind*) or assign* or allocat* or volunteer*).tw.

Source: What is in The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) from EMBASE?

(NB: does not remove animal studies as the MEDLINE version does)

Other filters/hedges

Other filters/hedges

The Systematic Reviews wiki includes a list of other sites containing filters/hedges (both validated and unvalidated) as well as some specific ones for indigenous health in Canada, Canada and Low and Middle Income Countries (2012).


Genevieve Gore's picture
Genevieve Gore
Schulich Library of Science & Engineering
Website Skype Contact: genatlibrary

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