Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Pain. 2016 Dec;157(12):2766-2772.

Open-label placebo treatment in chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
aISPA-Instituto Universitário de Ciências Psicológicas, Sociais e da Vida, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Lisbon, Portugal bNova Medical School-Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal cUnidade de Terapia de Dor do Hospital de Egas Moniz, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental, Lisbon, Portugal dProgram in Placebo Studies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Erratum in

Abstract

This randomized controlled trial was performed to investigate whether placebo effects in chronic low back pain could be harnessed ethically by adding open-label placebo (OLP) treatment to treatment as usual (TAU) for 3 weeks. Pain severity was assessed on three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales, scoring maximum pain, minimum pain, and usual pain, and a composite, primary outcome, total pain score. Our other primary outcome was back-related dysfunction, assessed on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. In an exploratory follow-up, participants on TAU received placebo pills for 3 additional weeks. We randomized 97 adults reporting persistent low back pain for more than 3 months' duration and diagnosed by a board-certified pain specialist. Eighty-three adults completed the trial. Compared to TAU, OLP elicited greater pain reduction on each of the three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales and on the 0- to 10-point composite pain scale (P < 0.001), with moderate to large effect sizes. Pain reduction on the composite Numeric Rating Scales was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.0-2.0) in the OLP group and 0.2 (-0.3 to 0.8) in the TAU group. Open-label placebo treatment also reduced disability compared to TAU (P < 0.001), with a large effect size. Improvement in disability scores was 2.9 (1.7-4.0) in the OLP group and 0.0 (-1.1 to 1.2) in the TAU group. After being switched to OLP, the TAU group showed significant reductions in both pain (1.5, 0.8-2.3) and disability (3.4, 2.2-4.5). Our findings suggest that OLP pills presented in a positive context may be helpful in chronic low back pain.

PMID:
27755279
PMCID:
PMC5113234
DOI:
10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000700
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center