In 2021, more than 100,000 deaths from opioid overdoses were reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Methadone treatment remains one of the most reliable means of treating opioid use disorder, with success rates reportedly ranging from 60 to 90 percent for patients who stick with the long-term regimen. Adherence, though, remains a challenge.
In a novel randomized clinical trial published by Harvard Medical School researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the University of Maryland in JAMA Network Open, senior author Ted Kaptchuk, HMS professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess; lead author Annabelle Belcher, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine; and colleagues tested whether using open-label placebo, or informing study participants that they were taking a placebo with their methadone, could increase the efficacy of methadone treatment for people undergoing care for opioid use disorder.
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