There is a list of recommended Emtree and free text search terms for Embase1. Alternatively, you can use the search filter designed by Wong et al.2

Embase search strategy for finding RCTs in Embase1,  amended to embase.com format

'crossover procedure':de OR 'double-blind procedure':de OR 'randomized controlled trial':de OR  'single-blind procedure':de OR (random* OR  factorial* OR crossover* OR cross NEXT/1 over* OR placebo* OR doubl* NEAR/1 blind* OR singl* NEAR/1 blind* OR assign* OR allocat* OR volunteer*):de,ab,ti

Alternative Embase strategies2  amended to embase.com format

sensitivity maximizing  strategy
random*:ab,ti OR (clinical NEXT/1 trial*):de,ab,ti OR  'health care quality'/exp

specificity maximizing strategy
(double NEXT/1 blind*):de,ab,ti OR placebo*:ab,ti OR blind*:ab,ti

best optimization of sensitivity and specificity*
random*:ab,ti OR placebo*:de,ab,ti OR (double NEXT/1 blind*):ab,ti

RCT strategy based on SIGN filter3, amended to embase.com format

'clinical trial'/de OR 'randomized controlled trial'/de OR 'randomization'/de OR 'single blind procedure'/de OR 'double blind procedure'/de OR 'crossover procedure'/de OR 'placebo'/de OR 'prospective study'/de OR 'randomi?ed controlled' NEXT/1 trial* OR rct OR 'randomly allocated' OR 'allocated randomly' OR 'random allocation' OR allocated NEAR/2 random OR single NEXT/1 blind* OR double NEXT/1 blind* OR (treble OR triple) NEAR/1 blind* OR placebo*


1. Lefebvre C, Manheimer E, Glanville J. Chapter 6: Searching for studies. In: Higgins J, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Version 5.1.0 (updated March 2011). The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from www.cochrane-handbook.org

2. Wong SS, Wilczynski NL, Haynes RB. Developing optimal search strategies for detecting clinically sound treatment studies in EMBASE. Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA. 2006 Jan;94(1):41-7

3. The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) Search Filters Web Page. Available from: http://www.sign.ac.uk/methodology/filters.html