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April 2000

Placebo Protects Subjects From Nonresponse: A Paradox of Power

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57(4):329-330. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.57.4.329

IN THIS issue, Khan et al1 examine extensive randomized clinical trial data from the Food and Drug Administration (Washington, DC), looking at differences between placebo and active medications in antidepressant trials. They found that relative to subjects receiving investigational or other active comparator antidepressants, those receiving placebo had smaller reductions in symptoms, but no differences in rates of suicide attempts or completions.1 Here I shift from adverse effects of placebo to describe a benefit of including placebo in a clinical trial.

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