Blinding effectiveness and association of pretreatment expectations with pain improvement in a double-blind randomized controlled trial

Judith A. Turner, Mark P. Jensen, Catherine A. Warms, Diana D. Cardenas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patient, provider, and clinical investigator expectations concerning treatments are believed to play important roles in patient response. This study examined the association of patient and research nurse/physician pretreatment expectations of pain relief with actual pain relief, the accuracy of patient and research nurse guesses about patient medication assignment, and changes in research nurse and patient pain relief expectations over the course of a randomized double-blind trial of amitriptyline versus an active placebo for patients with chronic pain and spinal cord injuries (SCI). Patient expectations of pain relief with amitriptyline were associated significantly with actual pain decrease for patients in the amitriptyline, but not placebo, condition. Research nurse/physician expectations did not predict patient pain relief. Both patients and the research nurse were able to guess patient medication assignment at a rate significantly greater than chance. The research nurse's, but not the patients', expectations of pain relief with amitriptyline decreased significantly over the course of the study. These findings have implications for future randomized controlled trials. Fully double-blind conditions are very difficult to achieve, and it is informative to assess patient and research clinician expectations and guesses regarding medication assignment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalPain
Volume99
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Blinding
  • Expectations
  • Nonspecific effects
  • Pain
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Blinding effectiveness and association of pretreatment expectations with pain improvement in a double-blind randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this