POEMs

Placebo Plus Message of Benefit Decreases Chronic Low Back Pain

 

Am Fam Physician. 2017 Apr 1;95(7):456-457.

Clinical Question

Can simply telling patients that a medicine works, even if it is placebo, decrease pain and improve disability in patients with chronic low back pain?

Bottom Line

These investigators gave twice daily placebo to patients with chronic back pain and told them it was placebo. They also told them that placebos can have a pronounced effect (which is true). The addition of placebo to usual care improved patients' pain and disability scores over the three weeks of the study. Although we probably will not start prescribing placebo, this study emphasizes the great value of conveying one's confidence in the treatment to bolster its effect. (Level of Evidence = 2b)

Synopsis

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at http://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.


 

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