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Only Skin Deep: Optimism and Public Self-Consciousness Did Not Associate With the Placebo Response in a Dermatology Clinical Trial.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Jun 1;13(6):719-722

Authors: Garshick MK, Chang AL, Kimball AB

Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Although not well-understood, dermatologic diseases studied in clinical trials often demonstrate substantial response to placebo. The study objective is to determine if optimism, public self-consciousness and other personality traits predict response to placebo or active treatment in a dermatology clinical trial.<BR /> METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to subjects previously enrolled in a two-center rosacea study who had been randomized to either a treatment or placebo gel. The questionnaire included the Revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R), the Public Self-Consciousness Scale, and questions to assess personality traits.<BR /> RESULTS: Forty-seven subjects out of 83 (57%) returned the questionnaire. There was no statistically significant difference in the LOT-R score in those who responded to placebo versus those who did not (18.08 vs 17.92, <EM>P</EM>= 0.92) nor in those who responded to active treatment versus those who did not (16.27 vs 15.86, <EM>P</EM>= 0.79). There was no statistically significant difference in public-self consciousness among placebo or active treatment responders versus non-responders (11.75 vs 10.67, <EM>P</EM>=0.66; 13.55 vs 14.45, <EM>P</EM>= 0.68). The placebo responders were more likely to report that they were not unusually sensitive to most drugs/medications (X2= 8.33, <EM>P</EM>= 0.004).<BR /> CONCLUSION: Although this pilot study is small, there was no meaningful difference in levels of optimism or public self-consciousness among those who responded to placebo. Placebo responders were more likely to report that they were not sensitive to most drugs/medications, raising the possibility that they are actually less likely to detect when they are on medications.<BR /><BR /> <EM>J Drugs Dermatol.</EM> 2014;13(6):719-722.

PMID: 24918563 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24918563?dopt=Abstract = URL to article

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