What’s the shelf life of a randomised controlled trial?

A study has tracked the likelihood of evidence being superseded over 17 years

Pile of medical journals with stehoscope draped over them

In these days of evidence-based medicine, you can’t do much better than a well-designed, double-blind, randomised controlled trial (RCT).

It is the staple ingredient of the systematic reviews and meta-analyses that we use to make sense of the burgeoning medical literature, hopefully distilling data into digestible bites that can inform clinical practice.