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July 24/31, 2002

The Increasing Power of Placebos in Trials of Antidepressants

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(4):449-450. doi:10.1001/jama.288.4.446

To the Editor: Dr Walsh and colleagues1 reported that response to placebo antidepressants in published clinical trials has improved over the past 20 years. The authors attributed this improvement to changes in the type of patients who participate in clinical trials. That is, because a larger proportion of the population has been receiving treatment for depression in recent years, clinical trials probably draw more individuals with milder, briefer, and more responsive forms of depression.