Archive | Placebo

‘Expensive’ placebos work better than ‘cheap’ ones, study finds

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Posted 28 January 2018

How do you convert a simple saline solution into a useful treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease? Tell them it’s a drug that costs $100 per dose. And if you want to make it even more effective, tell them it costs $1,500 instead.

That’s what researchers from the University of Cincinnati discovered in an unusual clinical trial. Instead of testing a placebo against an actual drug, they pitted two placebos against each other. The only difference between the two sham treatments was their purported price.

Both of the placebos improved motor function compared with a base line test. But when patients got the $1,500-per-dose placebo, their improvement was 9% greater than when they got the $100-per-dose placebo, the researchers reported.

Continue reading at the LA Times

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Are diets just placebos?

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Posted 14 July 2017

A question that is often asked: why do some people (few) lose weight even if the weight-loss product is a scam?

For example, if we claim that Herbex products have no evidence to back up their claim to be effective in weight-loss, and indeed, as we argue, there is no proof the ingredients contribute to weight-loss and particularly at the dose being used.

We have attributed this to the placebo effect, i.e., someone taking a pill psychologically changes the way he/she eats. There are many studies demonstrating how people have lost weight, even large amounts, even though they were getting an inert substance.

In an article in Slate, the science writer Erik Vance, asks the question: Are diets just placebos?

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The weird power of the placebo effect, explained

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Posted 11 July 2017

Yes, the placebo effect is all in your mind. And it’s real.

Over the last several years, doctors noticed a mystifying trend: Fewer and fewer new pain drugs were getting through double-blind placebo control trials, the gold standard for testing a drug’s effectiveness. 

In these trials, neither doctors nor patients know who is on the active drug and who is taking an inert pill. At the end of the trial, the two groups are compared. If those who actually took the drug report significantly greater improvement than those on placebo, then it’s worth prescribing.

When researchers started looking closely at pain-drug clinical trials, they found that an average of 27 percent of patients in 1996 reported pain reduction from a new drug compared to placebo. In 2013, it was 9 percent.

What this showed was not that the drugs

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Placebo effects

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Posted 07 September 2011

I have pointed out in a number of posts how strong a placebo response can be, and asked whether some CAMS are only effective because of a strong placebo response and actually have no efficacy on their own.

Here is an interesting study that illustrates this very point.

Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

"Conclusion: Placebos administered without deception may be an effective treatment for IBS. Further research is warranted in IBS, and perhaps other conditions, to elucidate whether physicians can benefit patients using placebos consistent with informed consent."

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Vitamin pills can lead you to take health risks

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Posted 29 August 2011

A very interesting article by Dr Ben Goldacre, published in The Guardian.

“Trials show that people who think they’ve done something healthy, even if they haven’t, smoke more and believe they are invulnerable to diseases”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/a ug/26/bad-science-vitamin-pills-lead-you-to-take-risks

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A closer look at the placebo effect

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Posted 20 July 2011

From Medical Xpress

Published:   July 13th, 2011 in Medications

Placebos are "dummy pills" often used in research trials to test new  drug therapies and the "placebo effect" is the benefit patients  receive from a treatment that has no active ingredients. Many claim  that the placebo effect is a critical component of clinical practice. 

But whether or not placebos can actually influence objective measures  of disease has been unclear. Now a study of asthma patients examining  the impact of two different placebo treatments versus standard medical  treatment with an albuterol bronchodilator has reached two important conclusions: while placebos had no effect on lung function (one of the  key objective measures that physicians depend on in treating asthma patients) when it came to patient-reported outcomes, placebos were  equally as effective as albuterol in helping to relieve patients' discomfort … Read the rest

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