Institute of Medical Psychology

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Meissner Lab - Placebo Research


Research Topics

  • Mechanisms of placebo and nocebo effects
  • Quantification of placebo effects in clinical trials
  • Optimizing placebo and nocebo effects in clinical practice


How do placebo and nocebo mechanisms affect the outcomes of medical interventions? How can we control placebo effects in clinical trials without using a placebo control group? And what is the best way to maximize placebo effects and minimize nocebo effects in clinical practice? The Placebo Research - Meissner Lab aims to contribute to the continuous improvement of health care delivery by better understanding placebo and nocebo effect across medical conditions and applying the knowledge to clinical trial methodology and clinical practice.

Selected Publications

Evers AWM, Colloca L, Blease C, Gaab J, Jensen KB, Atlas LY, Beedie CJ, Benedetti F, Bingel U, Buchel C, Bussemaker J, Colagiuri B, Crum AJ, Finniss DG, Geers AL, Howick J, Klinger R, Meeuwis SH, Meissner K, Napadow V, Petrie KJ, Rief W, Smeets I, Wager TD, Wanigasekera V, Vase L, Kelley JM, Kirsch I, Consortium of Placebo E. What Should Clinicians Tell Patients about Placebo and Nocebo Effects? Practical Considerations Based on Expert Consensus. Psychother Psychosom 2021;90(1): 49-56. doi: 10.1159/000510738. Pubmed

Meissner K, Lutter D, von Toerne C, Haile A, Woods SC, Hoffmann V, Ohmayer U, Hauck SM, Tschoep MH. Molecular classification of the placebo effect in nausea. PloS one 2020;15(9): e0238533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238533. Pubmed

Locher C, Kossowsky J, Koechlin H, Lam TL, Barthel J, Berde CB, Gaab J, Schwarzer G, Linde K, Meissner K. Efficacy, Safety, and Acceptability of Pharmacologic Treatments for Pediatric Migraine Prophylaxis: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr 2020;174(4): 341-49. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.5856. Pubmed

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