Placebo responses and placebo effects in functional bowel disorders

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jan;24(1):1-8. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32834bb951.


The nature and determinants of the placebo response are widely unknown, as are the underlying psychological and biological mechanisms. Placebo response rates in functional bowel disorders (functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome) trials are similar to those in nonintestinal pain conditions and are comparable with other organic gastrointestinal diseases (duodenal ulcer, inflammatory bowel diseases). In this narrative review, different methodologies (meta-analyses, reanalyses, and experimental setups) are discussed that have been applied to the study of the placebo response in functional dyspepsia and the irritable bowel syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Placebo Effect*
  • Research Design
  • Treatment Outcome