The placebo response is a real psychological, physiological, and ultimately statistical phenomenon that can be a powerful therapeutic tool in the world of medicine, especially when it comes to chronic pain conditions. For a drug to be approved, its developers must be able to demonstrate that it is significantly more effective compared to a placebo. Unfortunately, placebo response rates and effect sizes have increased considerably over the last few decades. Even certain well-established drugs can no longer surpass placebos in modern trials. This trend threatens the approval of legitimate drugs in the future.
Consequently, successful clinical trials must be able to accurately measure and mitigate placebo responses. But how do researchers quantify such a diverse range of phenomena? Read on for an overview.