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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 52 (2010) 8, 575 - 582

Essay

Is it acceptable to use placebos in depression research?

Y. Meesters, M.J. Ruiter, W.A. Nolen

The use of placebos in an investigation into the efficacy of a new type of treatment for winter depression was not approved by a medical ethics committee because some test subjects receiving placebos might thereby be deprived of an effective treatment. According to the authors, the committee’s decision constituted an impediment to research and prevented a thorough investigation
of a possible new type of treatment. In this essay it is argued that the use of placebos in depression research is ethically acceptable.

keywords depression research, ethics, placebo