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May 1969

Non-Specific Factors in Drug Therapy.

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif

Arch Intern Med. 1969;123(5):604-605. doi:10.1001/archinte.1969.00300150122027

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This small volume is a compilation of papers presented at a symposium held at the Fourth World Congress of Psychiatry in September 1966. Ordinarily, such non-books suffer from inescapable defects of redundancy and lack of cohesion, but this one fares better than most. Another intrinsic defect is that little information is presented that has not been published elsewhere, although grouping the papers serves some useful purpose.

Lest the title mislead, the book is primarily concerned with nonspecific factors in clinical psychopharmacology. Only a brief chapter by Beecher is concerned with other areas of drug therapy; these were covered in greater detail in his Measurement of Subjective Responses. Nonspecific factors is a phrase preferable to placebo responses, including more than merely the effects of attributable to the ritual of drugtaking.

Such metapharmacological factors tend to confound the evaluation of drug therapy of neurotic disorders. Some 14 patient variables and 8

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