Monday, April 28, 1997
In the past several
years companies have discovered that a high placebo response rate can be almost
as problematic in their clinical trials as a lack of efficacy. The cure for
both includes enrolling the right patient population and hoping the compound in
question has enough efficacy to overcome placebo effects.
The latest victim of the
placebo effect is Genelabs Technologies Inc., which on Friday reported both
good news and bad news for the first of its Phase III trials of GL701 (DHEA) in
systemic lupus erythematosus. The trial tested DHEA's ability to reduce the
amount of prednisone, a steroid hormone that produces toxic side effects at too
high a dose, taken by lupus patients to suppress the disease.