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Oral Dis. 2014 Apr;20(3):e1-6. doi: 10.1111/odi.12192. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Placebo effect in burning mouth syndrome: a systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Oral Medicine, Infection, and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.


Placebo controls play a critical role in the evaluation of any pharmacotherapy. This review surveys the placebo arm in 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and documents a positive placebo response in 6 of them. On average, treatment with placebos produced a response that was 72% as large as the response to active drugs. The lack of homogeneity in the use of placebos adds to the difficulty in comparing results and aggregating data. Future RCTs investigating BMS would benefit from larger sample sizes, adequate follow-up periods, and use of a standard placebo.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


BMS; burning mouth syndrome; oral dysesthesia; placebo; randomized control trials; treatment

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