Michael Phillips, MD
To the Editors: In a discussion of the rational use of the placebo, Bourne (1) has observed that "In some cases no 'placebo group' may be necessary at all. If one mode of therapy has definitely been shown to have genuine benefit, that therapy, not placebo, should be the 'control.' For example, in testing new drugs for symptomatic relief in rheumatoid arthritis, a demonstrated superiority to placebo medication is worse than useless, since (1) the placebo group has been deprived of active medication (aspirin) and (2) the real question, 'Is new drug X superior to conventional therapy?' has not been
Phillips M. The Use of Placebos in Controlled Trials. Ann Intern Med. ;116:265. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-116-3-265
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1992;116(3):265.
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