Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Placebo Interventions in General Practice

This study has been completed.
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS)
Information provided by:
University of Zurich Identifier:
First received: January 16, 2008
Last updated: November 19, 2008
Last verified: November 2008

Physicians often have an ambivalent relationship to placebo interventions. On the one hand they know of the intriguing effect of sugar pills or saline infusions but on the other hand they mostly feel constrained to adopt scientifically proven, specific therapies for ethical reasons. Against the background of international literature one can assume that also Swiss general practitioners use several forms of placebo interventions in a significant part of their patients.

The aim of the project is to ascertain to which extent and in which way Swiss general practitioners make use of placebo interventions. Furthermore knowledge of the mode of action of placebo interventions and the perceived moral and lawful permissibility of placebo interventions and the presumed attitudes of the patients will be investigated.

The empicical core of the study is a questionnaire survey of general practitioners in urban and rural areas of Switzerland. The results and conclusions of the survey will be discussed during a workshop with interested GPs, researchers and ethicists.

The obtained data will lead to a better understanding of the application of placebo interventions in the general practice in Switzerland (how often and in which manner, accompanied by what information, for which diseases and for which patient groups placebos are applied). Moreover the study will help to articulate potential moral ambiguities of physicians using placebo interventions.

General Practitioners

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Case-Only
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Placebo Interventions in General Practice

Further study details as provided by University of Zurich:

Estimated Enrollment: 600
Study Start Date: November 2007
Study Completion Date: March 2008
Primary Completion Date: March 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
general practitioners and pediatricians in medical practice of the canton Zurich in Switzerland

Inclusion Criteria:

  • general practitioners and pediatricians in medical practice of the canton Zurich in Switzerland

Exclusion Criteria:

  • no patient encounters
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00603928

University of Zurich
Zurich, Switzerland
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Zurich
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Nikola Biller-Andorno, University of Zurich, Institute for Biomedical Ethics Identifier: NCT00603928     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: RRMA-5-07
Study First Received: January 16, 2008
Last Updated: November 19, 2008

Keywords provided by University of Zurich:
attitude of health personnel
biomedical ethics
patient care
placebo effect
general practice processed this record on April 27, 2017