Open-Label Placebo May Benefit QoL in Cancer Survivors

Reductions seen in fatigue symptom severity and fatigue-related quality of life disruption
Reductions seen in fatigue symptom severity and fatigue-related quality of life disruption

HealthDay News — Open-label placebo (OLP) may reduce fatigue in cancer survivors, according to a study published online February 9 in Scientific Reports.

Teri W. Hoenemeyer, PhD, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues compared OLP to treatment as usual (TAU) for cancer survivors with fatigue in a 21-day randomized controlled trial. This was followed by a 21-day study in which TAU participants received OLP and OLP participants were followed after discontinuing placebo. Seventy-four cancer survivors who completed treatment 6 months to 10 years prior to enrollment and reporting at least moderate fatigue were randomized to receive OLP or TAU. 

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The researchers found that participants randomized to OLP reported a 29% improvement in fatigue severity and a 39% improvement in fatigue-disrupted quality of life compared to those randomized to TAU. Reductions in fatigue of a similar magnitude were reported for TAU participants who elected to try OLP for 21 days after the main study, with reductions of 23 and 35% for fatigue severity and fatigue-disrupted quality of life, respectively.

"OLP may reduce fatigue symptom severity and fatigue-related quality of life disruption in cancer survivors," the authors write.

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