Are randomized control trial outcomes influenced by the inclusion of a placebo group?: a systematic review of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug trials for arthritis treatment.
ABSTRACT Placebo groups are often included in randomized control trials evaluating drug therapy, yet we know little about the placebo effect. The purpose of our study was to evaluate how the presence of a placebo group in a randomized control trial (RCT) influences the patients' ratings of the efficacy of an active drug therapy and their reporting of its adverse effects. We identified studies published between 1966 and 1994 using MEDLINE. Randomized control trials evaluating acetylsalicylic acid, diclofenac, or indomethacin for the treatment of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis were included in our sample. Two investigators independently extracted data. Fifty-eight treatment arms met our inclusion criteria and were available for analysis. Twenty-five treatment arms evaluated a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) in placebo control trials and 33 in comparative trials. Using a logistic regression model to adjust for the differences between the evaluated drugs and between the types of arthritis, we found that patients receiving an NSAID in a placebo control trial were more likely to withdraw due to inefficacy (OR=1.3; 95% CI, 1.0 to 1.6; P=0.04). Using a similar model, withdrawals due to adverse effects were found to be more common when the NSAID was given in trials that did not include a placebo group (OR=1.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 1.9; P=0.002) as were reports of cutaneous (OR=4.2; 95% CI, 1.7 to 9.9), gastrointestinal (OR=1.6; 95% CI, 1.3 to 2.0), and other types (OR=5.3; 95% CI, 3.8 to 7.4) of adverse effects. Although reports of central nervous system adverse effects were more frequent in the comparative trials, this difference was not significant. Including a placebo group in a RCT changes how patients rate the efficacy and adverse effects of their therapy. Our results highlight the need to consider the placebo effect in the design and analyses of clinical trials.
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ABSTRACT: Detection of clinically relevant pain relief in cats with degenerative joint disease (DJD) is complicated by a lack of validated outcome measures and a placebo effect. To evaluate a novel approach for detection of pain relief in cats with DJD. Fifty-eight client-owned cats. Prospective, double-masked, placebo-controlled, stratified, randomized, clinical study. Enrolled cats were 6-21 years of age, with owner-observed mobility impairment, evidence of pain in at least 2 joints during orthopedic examination, and overlapping radiographic evidence of DJD, and underwent a 2-week baseline period, 3-week treatment period with placebo or meloxicam, and 3-week masked washout period. Outcome measures were evaluated at days 0, 15, 36, and 57. Both groups significantly improved after the treatment period (day 36) on client-specific outcome measures (CSOM) and feline musculoskeletal pain index (FMPI) (P < .0001 for both); there was no difference between the groups on CSOM or FMPI score improvement. After the masked washout period, more cats that received meloxicam during the treatment period had a clinically relevant decrease in CSOM score (P = .048) and FMPI score (P = .021) than cats that received placebo. Using both a client-specific and a general clinical metrology instrument, owners of cats with DJD were able to detect evident recurrence of clinical signs after withdrawal of active medication than after withdrawal of placebo, and that this study design might be a novel and useful way to circumvent the placebo effect and detect the efficacy of pain-relieving medications.Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 02/2014; 28(2). DOI:10.1111/jvim.12312 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may offer a safer alternative to their oral counterparts for the management of osteoarthritis. Diclofenac sodium topical solution with dimethyl sulfoxide (TDiclo) was evaluated in five randomized, controlled trials and is indicated for treatment of the signs and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Three studies showed that TDiclo is superior to placebo and vehicle control with respect to pain, physical function, and perception of osteoarthritis symptoms. Two studies showed that benefits are similar to those of oral diclofenac, with one study demonstrating statistical equivalence. The most common adverse event associated with TDiclo in these studies was dry skin. Incidences of gastrointestinal adverse events and abnormal levels of liver enzymes were lower with TDiclo compared with oral diclofenac in active-controlled studies. Based on these studies, TDiclo represents a practical, evidence-based option for the management of osteoarthritis of the knee.Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 01/2011; 4:223-31. DOI:10.2147/JMDH.S23209