Document Detail

What's in placebos: who knows? Analysis of randomized, controlled trials.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20956710     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: No regulations govern placebo composition. The composition of placebos can influence trial outcomes and merits reporting.
PURPOSE: To assess how often investigators specify the composition of placebos in randomized, placebo-controlled trials.
DATA SOURCES: 4 English-language general and internal medicine journals with high impact factors.
STUDY SELECTION: 3 reviewers screened titles and abstracts of the journals to identify randomized, placebo-controlled trials published from January 2008 to December 2009.
DATA EXTRACTION: Reviewers independently abstracted data from the introduction and methods sections of identified articles, recording treatment type (pill, injection, or other) and whether placebo composition was stated. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.
DATA SYNTHESIS: Most studies did not disclose the composition of the study placebo. Disclosure was less common for pills than for injections and other treatments (8.2% vs. 26.7%; P = 0.002).
LIMITATION: Journals with high impact factors may not be representative.
CONCLUSION: Placebos were seldom described in randomized, controlled trials of pills or capsules. Because the nature of the placebo can influence trial outcomes, placebo formulation should be disclosed in reports of placebo-controlled trials.
Beatrice A Golomb; Laura C Erickson; Sabrina Koperski; Deanna Sack; Murray Enkin; Jeremy Howick
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of internal medicine     Volume:  153     ISSN:  1539-3704     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. Intern. Med.     Publication Date:  2010 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-19     Completed Date:  2010-11-22     Revised Date:  2013-06-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372351     Medline TA:  Ann Intern Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  532-5     Citation Subset:  AIM; E; IM    
University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, San Diego, California, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Journal Impact Factor
Placebos / chemistry*
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic* / standards
Grant Support
G0800055//Medical Research Council
Reg. No./Substance:

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