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Press Release: EFIC 2013: Pain patients show strong response to placebo

Written by | 5 Nov 2013 | All Medical News

Chronic pain patients show a strong placebo effect. Positive earlier experience with pain medication appears to play an important role in this context.These were the findings of a German study presented at the EFIC Congress in Florence.

In another study, placebo treatments were found not only to relieve pain in patients with back pain but also to improve their functional capacity.

Chronic pain patients develop a strong placebo effect just like healthy individuals, and the relief of their habitual pain is more pronounced than the reduction of experimental pain. Prior experience with pain mediation influences the degree of placebo analgesia perceived. These are findings of a study by the Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty of Mannheim/Heidelberg University and the University of Hamburg, presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC.

Pain researchers subjected the thenar eminence of 49 chronic pain patients to pressure pain stimuli and compared their subjective pain ratings before and after they were administered a pharmacological placebo without active ingredient. Study author Dr Sandra Kamping (Central Institute of Mental Health at Mannheim): “Patients reporting prior positive experiences with pain medication exhibited greater pain relief.”

Another study by researchers from Mannheim and Hamburg investigated the question of how prior experiences and attitudes influence the placebo effect for chronic back pain, and specifically as regards subjectively perceived pain, functional capacity and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Maike Müller from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim: “A placebo intervention brought about pain relief and improved the functional capacity of patients with chronic back pain. The neuronal mechanisms on which the placebo effect is based appear to be different in pain patients versus in individuals without chronic pain.”

Sources: EFIC Abstract Kamping et al, Placebo effects in chronic pain patients and the role of experience with medication; EFIC Abstract Mueller et al, The role of prior experience for placebo effects in the treatment of chronic back pain.


EFIC Press Office:
Dr Birgit Kofler
Ph. after the Congress: +43-1-319 43 78-13
E-mail: kofler@bkkommunikation.com

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