The placebo phenomenon: Implications for the ethics of shared decision-making

Howard Brody, Luana Colloca, Franklin G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research into the placebo effect has implications for the ethics of shared decision-making (SDM). The older biomedical model views SDM as affecting which therapy is chosen, but not the nature or likelihood of any health outcomes produced by the therapy. Research indicates, however, that both the content and manner in which information is shared with the patient, and the patient's experience of being involved in the decision, can directly alter therapeutic outcomes via placebo responses. An ethical tension is thereby created between SDM aimed strictly and solely at conveying accurate information, and outcome engineering in which SDM is adapted toward therapeutic goals. Several practical strategies mitigate this tension and promote respect for autonomous decision-making while still utilizing the therapeutic potential of SDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-742
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Volume27
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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