The objective of the study is to determine whether patient expectancy plays a role in observed placebo and nocebo effects in two clinical trials.

Data were reanalyzed from 2 fluoxetine-discontinuation studies conducted from March 1990 to September 1992 and from May 1997 to December 2002. The 673 outpatients included were aged 18–65 years with DSM-III-R major depressive disorder, responded to 12-week duration open treatment, and were randomized to continued fluoxetine or placebo for an additional year. Mixed effects longitudinal models determined whether the possible randomization to placebo at 12 weeks resulted in significant depressive symptom worsening across treatments.

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