Placebo Plus Message of Benefit Decreases Chronic Low Back Pain
Am Fam Physician. 2017 Apr 1;95(7):456-457.
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?
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)
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