Brian Sullivan

We all know placebo treatment can significantly influence subjective symptoms.  But does that mean you have to decive a patient for it too work?

No! conclude the study, Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome  However, it is widely believed

Open-label placebo (non deceptive and non-concealed administration) is superior to a no-treatment control when offered with matched interactions in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A three week trial of 80 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, (70 percent female, mean age 47 +/- 18)  were randomized into two groups. The patients were diagnosed  ith IBS diagnosed by Rome III criteria and with a score $150 on the IBS Symptom Severity Scale (IBS-SSS).

One group were given open-label placebo pills. The other group no-treatment controls but each group received the same quality of interaction with providers.

Previous studies have shown "placebo pills made of an inert substance, like sugar pills, that have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self healing processes’’

Open-label placebo's produced significantly higher mean (+/-SD) global improvement scores (IBS-GIS) at both 11-day midpoint (5.2 +/-1.0 vs. 4.0+/-1.1, p,.001) and at 21-day endpoint (5.0+/-1.5 vs. 3.9 +/-1.3, p = .002).
Significant results were also observed at both time points for reduced symptom severity (IBS-SSS, p = .008 and p = .03) and adequate relief (IBS-AR, p = .02 and p = .03); nd a trend favoring open-label placebo was observed for quality of life (IBS-QoL) at the 21-day endpoint (p = .08).

So while more research need be done, placebos administered without deception
may be an effective treatment for IBS and perhaps other conditions.

Matbem just maybe, doctors may benefit patients using placebos consistent with informed consent.

Reference:   Kaptchuk TJ, Friedlander E, Kelley JM, Sanchez MN, Kokkotou E, et al.(2010) Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable
Bowel Syndrome. PLoS ONE 5(12): e15591. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015591

PLoS ONE | 1 December 2010 | Volume 5 | Issue 12 | e15591

Image: -I'm Medicated, How Are You?-by ~broken-wingz07

Better by far you forget and smile than you should remember and be sad - Christina Rosetti
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