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Acupuncture trials and informed consent


Participants are often not informed by investigators who conduct randomised, placebo-controlled acupuncture trials that they may receive a sham acupuncture intervention. Instead, they are told that one or more forms of acupuncture are being compared in the study. This deceptive disclosure practice lacks a compelling methodological rationale and violates the ethical requirement to obtain informed consent. Participants in placebo-controlled acupuncture trials should be provided an accurate disclosure regarding the use of sham acupuncture, consistent with the practice of placebo-controlled drug trials.

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