ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN THE THERAPEUTIC USE OF PLACEBO
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The authors summarize the different approaches, arguments, and implicit beliefs for and against the therapeutic usage of placebo. The previous investigations, proposed solutions and ideas are also reviewed and evaluated. As the therapeutic effectivity of placebo is proven regarding both subjective and objective symptoms in many diseases and disorders, the complete denial of possible usage is not acceptable any more. Observing the recommended rules and guidelines (e.g. proven effectivity for the given symptoms, informed consent, as adjuvant therapy, etc.) the placebo would be already usable as a therapy, and the underlying psychological (primarily cognitive) and psychophysiological mechanisms could also be discovered and understood with more research. The usage of the placebo does not mean deception and limiting of autonomy under any circumstances. In the appropriate context it can help patients participating actively in their own recovering and can give them the opportunity of further personality development.
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