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Predicting Potential Placebo Effect in Drug Treated Subjects


  • Petkova Eva

    (New York University)

  • Tarpey Thaddeus

    (Wright State University)

  • Govindarajulu Usha

    (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University Medical Center)


Non-specific responses to treatment (commonly known as placebo response) are pervasive when treating mental illness. Subjects treated with an active drug may respond in part due to non-specific aspects of the treatment, i.e, those not related to the chemical effect of the drug. To determine the extent a subject responds due to the chemical effect of a drug, one must disentangle the specific drug effect from the non-specific placebo effect. This paper presents a unique statistical model that allows for the separate prediction of a specific effect and non-specific effects in drug treated subjects. Data from a clinical trial comparing fluoxetine to a placebo for treating depression is used to illustrate this methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Petkova Eva & Tarpey Thaddeus & Govindarajulu Usha, 2009. "Predicting Potential Placebo Effect in Drug Treated Subjects," The International Journal of Biostatistics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:ijbist:v:5:y:2009:i:1:n:23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bengt Muthén & Kerby Shedden, 1999. "Finite Mixture Modeling with Mixture Outcomes Using the EM Algorithm," Biometrics, The International Biometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 463-469, June.
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