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Placebo interventions, placebo effects and clinical practice

By Klaus Linde, Margrit Fässler and Karin Meissner

Abstract

This article reviews the role of placebo interventions and placebo effects in clinical practice. We first describe the relevance of different perspectives among scientists, physicians and patients on what is considered a placebo intervention in clinical practice. We then summarize how placebo effects have been investigated in randomized controlled trials under the questionable premise that such effects are produced by placebo interventions. We further discuss why a shift of focus from the placebo intervention to the overall therapeutic context is necessary and what research methods can be used for the clinical investigation of the relevance of context effects. In the last part of the manuscript, we discuss why placebo or context effects are seen as positive in clinical practice when they are associated with active treatments, while placebo interventions pose major ethical and professional problems and have to be avoided

Topics: Articles
Publisher: The Royal Society
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3130396
Provided by: PubMed Central
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