Method of Reducing Placebo/Nocebo Effects Associated with the Tapering of Medication and Storing Drug Tablet Fragments

Tech ID: 31743 / UC Case 2020-150-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Medicine have developed drug tapering schedule software to reduce factors that may impede patients’ discontinuation of a drug.


Successful discontinuation of addictive drugs, such as sedative-hypnotics, anxiolytics, and pain medications, is improved by slowly reducing the drug dose being administered (i.e., tapering). A slow, gradual taper however may be insufficient to achieve fully successful discontinuation. More specifically, the expectancy of a drug’s effects (placebo effects) and withdrawal symptoms (nocebo effects) may impair an individual’s chances of drug discontinuation. Therefore, limiting cognitive expectation (i.e. placebo/nocebo effects) can be crucial to successful tapering and ultimate discontinued individual use of drugs.


UCLA researchers have developed a software program and a tool/product for tapering and/or gradually discontinuation of a drug. This method uses a blinded tapering approach which gradually reduces the drug dose while simultaneously blinding/masking the individual to the daily dose to reduce placebo and/or nocebo effects. The schedule is trackable and flexible, allowing for the alteration of the initial schedule as the needs of the individual change. The tool may be used to prepare and store split tablets.


  • Drug tapering 
  • Tablet preparation (tablet splitting)


  • May reduce placebo and/or nocebo effects 
  • Easily accessible tapering schedule 
  • Flexible modification of tapering plan 
  • Increases tablet splitting safety

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Fung, Constance H.
  • Fung, Constance H.

Other Information


Drug tapering, placebo/nocebo effects, tapering schedule software, tablet splitting

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