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Research Letter |

Presenting Quantitative Information About Placebo Rates to Patients

Helen W. Sullivan, PhD, MPH1; Amie C. O’Donoghue, PhD1; Kathryn J. Aikin, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(21):2006-2007. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.10399.
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Research suggests that many people do not know the purpose of placebo groups in experiments1 and do not adequately understand the concept of clinical trial informed consent.2,3 However, people may be able to use placebo group information to draw inferences about drug efficacy,4 and thus some researchers suggest providing patients with clinical trial information in direct-to-consumer advertising.5 How, then, can we best explain placebo groups in this context? We tested 4 terms to convey the concept of placebo that could be included in direct-to-consumer ads.

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