Neuropsychopharmacology recently published “Placebo Response Mitigation with a Participant-Focused Psychoeducational Procedure: A Randomized, Single-Blind, All Placebo Study in Major Depressive and Psychotic Disorders”. Dr. Bill Horan, Vice President Clinical Science at VeraSci, and VeraSci CEO Dr. Rich Keefe co-authored the publication.

Development programs for CNS disorders face discouragingly low success rates. Placebo response has a potentially devastating impact on CNS trials and has contributed substantially to the late-stage failure of promising treatments. According to the paper, “no empirically-validated participant focused strategies to mitigate the phenomenon have been available.”

The paper presented results from a study evaluating the efficacy of the Placebo-Control Reminder Script (PCRS), a brief script read to participants immediately before administering study assessments. The study demonstrated that participants who received the PCRS reported significantly smaller reductions in depression than those who did not (all participants were receiving placebo).

“This is an important step forward in the development of new drugs for devastating CNS disorders including depression, schizophrenia, and chronic pain,” says Dr. Horan, “A scientifically-backed instrument that reduces placebo response will allow effective treatments to show a positive signal, a necessary step in bringing new treatments to market.”

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