Drug-treatment trials have allowed useful advances to
be made in the treatment and diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD). The two main clinical trial designs are randomized controlled trials
(RCTs) and observational studies. RCTs are generally considered to
provide more robust evidence than that obtained from observational studies.
However, well-designed comparator controlled RCTs, although successful, have
been shown to have some limitations, such as a lack of generalizability. Observational
studies can generate valuable data.
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