placebo

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placebo

(pləsē`bō), inert substance given instead of a potent drugdrugs,
substances used in medicine either externally or internally for curing, alleviating, or preventing a disease or deficiency. At the turn of the century only a few medically effective substances were widely used scientifically, among them ether, morphine, digitalis,
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. Placebo medications are sometimes prescribed when a drug is not really needed or when one would not be appropriate because they make patients feel well taken care of. Placebos are also used as controls in scientific studies on the effectiveness of drugs. So-called double blind experiments, where neither the doctor nor the patient knows whether the given medication is the experimental drug or the placebo, are often done to assure unbiased, statistically reliable results. A traditional placebo's lack of side effects, however, often identifies it, so an older drug is sometimes used in drug tests instead of or in addition to a placebo.

The "placebo effect" is an apparent improvement in health due not to any treatment but only to the patient's belief that he or she will improve (as by taking a dummy pill that is thought to be a cure). A report released in 2001, however, reviewed 114 studies where use of a placebo was compared to both treatment and no treatment and found no placebo effect with respect to measurable medical conditions, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Other reviews have found a placebo effect for pain treatments, and noted that how a placebo is administered can enhance the effect; a shot, for example, being more effective than an ointment and even more effective than a pill. An opposite, or "negative placebo effect," has been observed when patients believe their health will get worse.

placebo

[plä′chā·bō or plə′sē·bō]
(medicine)
A preparation, devoid of pharmacologic effect, given to patients for psychologic effect, or as a control in evaluating a medicinal believed to have a pharmacologic action.

placebo

1. Med an inactive substance or other sham form of therapy administered to a patient usually to compare its effects with those of a real drug or treatment, but sometimes for the psychological benefit to the patient through his believing he is receiving treatment
2. RC Church a traditional name for the vespers of the office for the dead
References in periodicals archive ?
In a yearlong safety study involving 3,000 diabetics, those given Cycloset had 42 percent fewer heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications than those given a dummy drug.
During the trials, patients were taking raltegravir or the dummy drug plus Optimised Background Therapy - a regime of antiretroviral drugs tailored to individual patients.
Research from Novartis suggests everolimus more than doubles the time without tumour growth or death compared with a dummy drug (4.
In the study, patients treated with Tarceva showed a 23% improvement in overall survival, compared to patients who received the dummy drug.
A third group of youngsters will receive a dummy drug as part of the test.
The rest received dexamethasone plus a non-active dummy drug, or placebo.
Vaccines given to children under the age of two have the same effect as if they were given a dummy drug, he added.
And while Raste was lucky enough to be given the dummy drug, it must be no comfort having had to watch his colleagues suffer as their heads started to swell and they suffered violent reactions.
Each year, 15,000 women die from the disease in Europe Experts say cervical cancer affects about 470,000 women a year worldwide and 33,500 in EuropeA total of 12,167 women aged 16 to 23 from 13 countries including the UK took part in the trial Half were given three injections of Gardasil spanning six months and half jabs of an inactive dummy drug.
When patient records were unlocked and analyzed, 83 percent of the group taking a dummy drug had worsened; but only 52 percent of those on methotrexate had worsened.
But MRI brain scans showed that the diseased area increased about 20 percent in MS patients taking the dummy drug but only about 7 percent in those taking moderate levels of the drug; it decreased 4 percent in those taking high doses.
Nocebo effect The undesirable side effects that a person experiences as a consequence of taking a dummy drug.