Attitudes toward Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials of Patients with Schizophrenia in JapanReport as inadecuate

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Although the use of placebo in clinical trials of schizophrenia patients is controversial because of medical and ethical concerns, placebo-controlled clinical trials are commonly used in the licensing of new drugs.


The objective of this study was to assess the attitudes toward placebo-controlled clinical trials among patients with schizophrenia in Japan.


Using a cross-sectional design, we recruited patients n = 251 aged 47.7±13.2 mean±SD with a DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who were admitted to six psychiatric hospitals from December 2013 to March 2014. We employed a 14-item questionnaire specifically developed to survey patients- attitudes toward placebo-controlled clinical trials.


The results indicated that 33% of the patients would be willing to participate in a placebo-controlled clinical trial. Expectations for improvement of disease, a guarantee of hospital treatment continuation, and encouragement by family or friends were associated with the willingness to participate in such trials, whereas a belief of additional time required for medical examinations was associated with non-participation.


Fewer than half of the respondents stated that they would be willing to participate in placebo-controlled clinical trials. Therefore, interpreting the results from placebo-controlled clinical trials could be negatively affected by selection bias.

Author: Norio Sugawara , Masamichi Ishioka, Shoko Tsuchimine, Koji Tsuruga, Yasushi Sato, Hanako Furukori, Shuhei Kudo, Tetsu Tomita, Tak



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