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 ?
This is exactly what happened to a 71-year-old patient named Linda, whose case was cited in a recent Time magazine article about 'Placebo's New Power.'
[10] showed that (a) placebo and nocebo effects in hormone secretion (growth hormone and cortisol) were affected by pharmacological conditioning, but not by verbal suggestions, (b) placebo and nocebo effects in pain were induced by pharmacological conditioning and by verbal suggestions, but pharmacologically conditioned placebo hypoalgesia was overridden by opposing verbal suggestions, and (c) motor performance in Parkinsonian patients depended on verbal suggestion after repeated deactivation of implanted stimulating electrodes.
Various components of the treatment situation, collectively referred to as placebo, are a powerful antidote for illness, and some of these healing components exert their influence without special activity on the clinician's part:
Anything that threatened the fastidious detection of a predictable cause and effect outcome was conveniently disposed of in a repository labelled the "placebo effect".
Should we tell patients that magnesium works no better than a placebo, but that it still may help them?
Kopeloff and Cheney (14) divided their 60 infected patients into a control group of 33, who received no operation (the placebo group) and 27 operated patients.
In fact, the placebo effect can be compared to the experience of watching a horror movie.
This is an interesting study that demonstrates the potential benefit of harnessing placebo responses to elicit positive outcomes in patients.
Among the genes that appear to mediate the placebo effect, five are associated with the chemical messenger dopamine and four are linked with the chemical messenger serotonin.
In the second group placebo was administered and their warts were frozen monthly for three month.
Most people are familiar with the concept of a "placebo effect," the perception that a subject's health improved after the subject unknowingly received an inert treatment that should have had no effect on the subject whatsoever.