Background For safety assessment in clinical trials, adverse events (AEs) are reported for the drug under evaluation and compared with AEs in the placebo group. Little is known about the nature of the AEs associated with clinical trials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and the extent to which these can be traced to nocebo effects, where negative treatment-related expectations favor their occurrence. Methods In our systematic review, we compared the rates of solicited AEs in the active and placebo groups of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines approved by the Western pharmaceutical regulatory agencies. We implemented a search strategy to identify trial-III studies of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines through the PubMed database. We adopted the PRISMA Statement to perform the study selection and the data collection and identified three trial: two mRNA-based (38403 participants) and one adenovirus type (6736 participants). Findings Relative risks showed that the occurrence of AEs reported in the vaccine groups was higher compared with the placebo groups. The most frequently AEs in both groups were fatigue, headache, local pain, as injection site reactions, and myalgia. In particular, for first doses in placebo recipients, fatigue was reported in 29% and 27% in BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 groups, respectively, and in 21% of Ad26.COV2.S participants. Headache was reported in 27% in both mRNA groups and in 24% of Ad26.COV2.S recipients. Myalgia was reported in 10% and 14% in mRNA groups (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively) and in 13% of Ad26.COV2.S participants. Local pain was reported in 12% and 17% in mRNA groups (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively), and in 17% of Ad26.COV2.S recipients. These AEs are more common in the younger population and in the first dose of placebo recipients of the mRNA vaccines. Interpretation Our results are in agreement with the expectancy theory of nocebo effects and suggest that the AEs associated with COVID-19 vaccines may be related to the nocebo effect.

Adverse events of active and placebo groups in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine randomized trials: A systematic review

Martina Amanzio
First
;
Massimo Bartoli;Giuseppina Elena Cipriani;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background For safety assessment in clinical trials, adverse events (AEs) are reported for the drug under evaluation and compared with AEs in the placebo group. Little is known about the nature of the AEs associated with clinical trials of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and the extent to which these can be traced to nocebo effects, where negative treatment-related expectations favor their occurrence. Methods In our systematic review, we compared the rates of solicited AEs in the active and placebo groups of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines approved by the Western pharmaceutical regulatory agencies. We implemented a search strategy to identify trial-III studies of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines through the PubMed database. We adopted the PRISMA Statement to perform the study selection and the data collection and identified three trial: two mRNA-based (38403 participants) and one adenovirus type (6736 participants). Findings Relative risks showed that the occurrence of AEs reported in the vaccine groups was higher compared with the placebo groups. The most frequently AEs in both groups were fatigue, headache, local pain, as injection site reactions, and myalgia. In particular, for first doses in placebo recipients, fatigue was reported in 29% and 27% in BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 groups, respectively, and in 21% of Ad26.COV2.S participants. Headache was reported in 27% in both mRNA groups and in 24% of Ad26.COV2.S recipients. Myalgia was reported in 10% and 14% in mRNA groups (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively) and in 13% of Ad26.COV2.S participants. Local pain was reported in 12% and 17% in mRNA groups (BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273, respectively), and in 17% of Ad26.COV2.S recipients. These AEs are more common in the younger population and in the first dose of placebo recipients of the mRNA vaccines. Interpretation Our results are in agreement with the expectancy theory of nocebo effects and suggest that the AEs associated with COVID-19 vaccines may be related to the nocebo effect.
2022
12
100253
1
13
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanepe/article/PIIS2666-7762(21)00239-8/fulltext
adverse events nocebo effect placebo randomized control trials SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
Martina Amanzio, Dimos D Mitsikostas, Fabio Giovannelli, Massimo Bartoli, Giuseppina Elena Cipriani, Walter A Brown
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1818717
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