Placebos are “fake” treatments prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect. Placebos are used for conditions defined by “self-observation” symptoms (E.g. pain, nausea, or fatigue). But a new area of research has extended toward 'open-label placebos' or "educated placebos".
While it was once assumed that deception was necessary for placebos to have any effect, there is now evidence that placebos can have effects even when the patient is aware that the treatment is a placebo.
Source (2nd paragraph)
Even though placebos contain no real treatment, researchers have found they can have a variety of both physical and psychological effects
If placebo controls can have effects even when the patient is aware that the treatment is a placebo, then why not just always tell clinical trial participants they are using a placebo?
- Easier to recruit participants (Thus, potentially larger sample sizes)
- Less stress on participants (Wondering if they are taking a placebo or not)
- Speeding up the clinical research time-frame
Using 'open-label placebos' you can still control for researcher bias (Single-blind study - only the researchers blinded, it cannot be double-blinded because the participants know.)
It is reducing the quality of the research? Because there is no control of the physical and psychological effects? But that isn't right because again:
Placebos can have effects even when the patient is aware that the treatment is a placebo.