How orthopedic surgeons view open label placebo pills: Ethical and effective, but opposed to personal use
Bernstein MH., Rosenfield M., Fuchs N., Magill M., Blease CR., Beaudoin FL., Rich JD., Wartolowska K., Terek RM.
Objective: To examine attitudes of Open Label Placebos (OLP) among a national sample of US orthopedic surgeons. Methods: Orthopedic surgeons across the US were invited to participate in a brief online cross-sectional survey; n = 687 participated. The survey included a short vignette of a surgeon using adjunctive OLPs in addition to opioids for postoperative pain management. Participants indicated how ethical and effective they thought OLPs would be in this context, and whether they would personally consider using OLPs. Results: Nearly three-quarters (73.9%) of the surgeons considered OLPs ethical. In total, 55.4% and 48.8% of participants said that OLPs would “probably” or “definitely” be effective for Vicodin reduction and pain relief, respectively. However, only 19.2% of participants indicated they were personally willing to consider OLPs, and 59.6% were unwilling to do so. Conclusions: Generally, orthopedic surgeons perceive OLPs as both ethical and effective, but would not consider using them in their practice. Further research is needed to identify clinician barriers to OLP use.