Using Placebo Response to Pain as a Predictor of Placebo Response in Mood Disorders

Sara Costi, Katherine Collins, Michael Davidson, Dan V. Iosifescu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recent Findings: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability worldwide and available pharmacological treatments are only partially effective. The development of new drugs is hindered by the high proportion of MDD patients who respond to placebo. Data from neuroimaging studies suggests convergence in the activation of brain circuits during placebo response to analgesia and placebo response in depression. Purpose of Review: In the current work, we reviewed the published literature about placebo response in depression and in pain, focusing on the similarities within the neurobiological pathways that could facilitate identification of predictors of antidepressant placebo response. Summary: Data suggests that placebo response in both pain and depression are mediated by reward neurocircuitry. The neuro-functional overlap between these networks suggests a novel strategy to prospectively identify placebo responders in MDD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-367
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Behavioral Neuroscience Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthT32MH096678, N01HHSN271201100006I
Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.


    • Analgesia
    • Depression
    • Expectancy
    • Pain
    • Placebo response
    • Reward circuitry


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