Introduction: Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is defined as an idiopathic orofacial pain with intraoral burning or dysaesthesia. The aim of this systematic review was to analyze scientific literature with regard to the placebo effect in patients with BMS.
Methods: A literature search was conducted through the Pubmed indexed for Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Trip databases from their inception to May 31st, 2021. The search terms were defined by combining (Mesh Terms OR Key Words) from “Burning mouth syndrome” AND (Mesh Terms OR Key Words) from “Placebo”. Methodological quality assessment was performed utilizing the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical appraisal tool, attributing scores from 1 to 11 to the selected studies. Literature search, study selection, and data extraction were carried out by two authors. Differences on issues were resolved by a third author, if necessary.
Results: A total of 44 articles met the inclusion criteria. After assessing full-text articles for eligibility, 20 articles were excluded. Consequently, 24 articles were retained. A total of twenty-one studies included in this systematic review have a low score of bias. In 13 studies, a positive response to the placebo was noted. Among them, seven showed a placebo response indistinguishable from active treatment. These changes are more pronounced in patients receiving a placebo compared to active treatment in one study.
Conclusion: Placebo therapy may occasionally be both beneficial and ethically acceptable for patients with BMS. In order to get strong evidence for placebo use, future studies with standardized methodology and outcomes are required.