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Abstract
Placebo effects are positive outcomes that are not due to active treatment components, which may be elicited even when patients are aware of receiving an inert substance (open-label). This proof-of-principle study investigated for the first time whether open-label placebo effects on itch can be induced by verbal suggestions alone. Ninety-two healthy volunteers were randomized to experimental (open-label suggestions) or control (no suggestions) groups. Self-reported itch evoked by histamine iontophoresis was the primary study outcome. In addition, itch expectations, skin condition and affect were assessed. The experimental group expected lower itch than the control group, which was, in turn, related to less experienced itch in this group only, although no significantly different itch levels were reported between groups. The results illustrate a potential role for open-label placebo effects in itch, and suggest that further study of verbal suggestions through an extensive explanation of placebo effects might be promising for clinical practice.
Keywords
RANDOMIZED-CONTROLLED-TRIAL, INFLAMMATORY SKIN REACTIONS, ATOPIC-DERMATITIS, CONDITIONED PLACEBO, NOCEBO, PAIN, QUESTIONNAIRE, VALIDATION, PERCEPTION, MECHANISMS, placebo, expectancy, itch, verbal suggestions

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Citation

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Chicago
Meeuwis, Stefanie H., Henriet van Middendorp, Dieuwke S. Veldhuijzen, Antoinette I. M. van Laarhoven, Jan De Houwer, Adriana P. M. Lavrijsen, and Andrea W.M. Evers. 2018. “Placebo Effects of Open-label Verbal Suggestions on Itch.” Acta Dermato-venereologica 98 (2): 268–274.
APA
Meeuwis, S. H., van Middendorp, H., Veldhuijzen, D. S., van Laarhoven, A. I. M., De Houwer, J., Lavrijsen, A. P. M., & Evers, A. W. M. (2018). Placebo effects of open-label verbal suggestions on itch. ACTA DERMATO-VENEREOLOGICA, 98(2), 268–274.
Vancouver
1.
Meeuwis SH, van Middendorp H, Veldhuijzen DS, van Laarhoven AIM, De Houwer J, Lavrijsen APM, et al. Placebo effects of open-label verbal suggestions on itch. ACTA DERMATO-VENEREOLOGICA. Uppsala: Acta Dermato-venereologica; 2018;98(2):268–74.
MLA
Meeuwis, Stefanie H., Henriet van Middendorp, Dieuwke S. Veldhuijzen, et al. “Placebo Effects of Open-label Verbal Suggestions on Itch.” ACTA DERMATO-VENEREOLOGICA 98.2 (2018): 268–274. Print.
@article{8573206,
  abstract     = {Placebo effects are positive outcomes that are not due to active treatment components, which may be elicited even when patients are aware of receiving an inert substance (open-label). This proof-of-principle study investigated for the first time whether open-label placebo effects on itch can be induced by verbal suggestions alone. Ninety-two healthy volunteers were randomized to experimental (open-label suggestions) or control (no suggestions) groups. Self-reported itch evoked by histamine iontophoresis was the primary study outcome. In addition, itch expectations, skin condition and affect were assessed. The experimental group expected lower itch than the control group, which was, in turn, related to less experienced itch in this group only, although no significantly different itch levels were reported between groups. The results illustrate a potential role for open-label placebo effects in itch, and suggest that further study of verbal suggestions through an extensive explanation of placebo effects might be promising for clinical practice.},
  author       = {Meeuwis, Stefanie H. and van Middendorp, Henriet and Veldhuijzen, Dieuwke S. and van Laarhoven, Antoinette I. M. and De Houwer, Jan and Lavrijsen, Adriana P. M. and Evers, Andrea W.M.},
  issn         = {0001-5555},
  journal      = {ACTA DERMATO-VENEREOLOGICA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {268--274},
  publisher    = {Acta Dermato-venereologica},
  title        = {Placebo effects of open-label verbal suggestions on itch},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2823},
  volume       = {98},
  year         = {2018},
}

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