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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2013 Apr;201(4):345-7. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318288e2e7.

Consenting not to be informed: a survey on the acceptability of placebo use in the treatment of depression.

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Shalvata Mental Health Center, Hod Hasharon, Israel.


The aim of this study was to investigate the opinions of healthy students regarding the acceptability of placebo treatment if they were to experience depression. A survey was conducted among 344 students in five academic centers in Israel. After a thorough explanation of the placebo effect, its efficacy and limitations in the treatment of depression, the study participants completed a 32-item self-report questionnaire. Seventy percent (n = 243) of the participants answered that they would agree to treatment with a placebo as a first-line treatment if they were to experience depression in the future. Eighty-eight percent (n = 297) of the subjects did not think that a physician who administered placebos was deceitful. Once aware of the possible benefits and limitations of placebo treatment, most of our study population was willing to accept placebo as a legitimate treatment of depression. Additional studies on the possible use of placebo as an effective, safe, and acceptable form of therapy are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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