Placebo effect characteristics observed in a single, international, longitudinal study in Huntington's disease

Esther Cubo, Miguel González, Inés del Puerto, Justo Garcia de Yébenes, Olga Fernández Arconada, José María Trejo Gabriel y Galán, European Huntington's Disease Initiative Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Classically, clinical trials are based on the placebo-control design. Our aim was to analyze the placebo effect in Huntington's disease.

METHODS: Placebo data were obtained from an international, longitudinal, placebo-controlled trial for Huntington's disease (European Huntington's Disease Initiative Study Group). One-hundred and eighty patients were evaluated using the Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale over 36 months. A placebo effect was defined as an improvement of at least 50% over baseline scores in the Unified Huntington Disease Rating Scale, and clinically relevant when at least 10% of the population met it.

RESULTS: Only behavior showed a significant placebo effect, and the proportion of the patients with placebo effect ranged from 16% (first visit) to 41% (last visit). Nondepressed patients with better functional status were most likely to be placebo-responders over time.

CONCLUSIONS: In Huntington's disease, behavior seems to be more vulnerable to placebo than overall motor function, cognition, and function

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-42
Number of pages4
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2011


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease
  • Internationality
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebo Effect
  • Placebos
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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