Article | February 23, 2021

How To Mitigate The Placebo Response In Analgesia Clinical Trials

By Scott Millard, Michael Skinner and Douglas Baker

patient in wheelchair iStock-1131834512

The placebo effect can be problematic in analgesia clinical trials with a symptom-based approach, as placebo-related analgesic responses may occur and persist for some time in up to 60 percent of study participants.1 In chronic pain studies, it is generally assumed that the placebo effect accounts for approximately 30 percent of the analgesic response.2 The etiology of the placebo effect is multifactorial and includes an expectation of benefit, response bias, and psychological or cultural factors. Our first blog covered key considerations surrounding the use of placebo control in chronic pain studies. Here, we explore how trial designs and training programs may be used to help reduce the placebo effect in analgesia clinical trials.

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