Although the positive effects of placebos are well known, it is difficult to harness these benefits in clinical practice because deceiving patients about the true nature of their treatment raises legal and ethical concerns. Surprisingly however, placebos can also work if people know they are taking “just” a placebo. But would people be willing to take these “honest”, so called open-label placebos? In their recently published study, Diana Müßgens and colleagues investigated how open people would be to taking such open-label placebos. In an online survey of 532 respondents, they found that most people were willing to try placebos, especially if they were prescribed in addition to an ongoing treatment. The most convincing arguments for trying placebos were positive results from research studies and recommendations by physicians. Therefore, they argue, it is well worth to further explore the use of open-label placebos and to optimize the ways in which researchers and clinicians communicate this knowledge.
Our letter “Worth a try – A survey on the general acceptance of open-label placebos” is now published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.