The enigma of placebo effects in drug-refractory epilepsies


Address correspondence to Günter Krämer, Swiss Epilepsy Center, Bleulerstrasse 60, CH-8008 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:


Placebo effects in the therapy of epilepsy were already known before the introduction of effective antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). They have physiologic correlates, and are even stronger in other neurologic disorders such as pain. Placebo effects in epilepsy have many facets. Our understanding of this phenomenon has increased in the last two decades: placebo effects are stronger in children than in adults, and may be culture- and setting-dependent; and impressive placebo effects occur in animals with epilepsy as well. More research is needed to fully elucidate the mechanism of placebo effects in epilepsy care, particularly as we go forth with studies addressing the issue of pharmacoresistance.