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 ?
The placebo effect, which used to be regarded as something negative, if not useless, is now getting a second look and unexpected respectability among a growing number of medical researchers and neurologists.
Meta-regression analysis was also made for the association analysis between placebo effect in HbA1c changes and baseline characteristics.
"Most people would say the placebo effect wanes over time.
Podd, "The placebo effect: dissolving the expectancy versus conditioning debate," Psychological Bulletin, vol.
(2009) found that runners' performance increased by 6.5%, and that slower runners showed a stronger placebo effect after ingesting purported nutritional ergogenic aids.
But far more frequently, what we know about the elements that contribute to the placebo effect can be applied to enhance the benefits of any treatment.
Anything that threatened the fastidious detection of a predictable cause and effect outcome was conveniently disposed of in a repository labelled the "placebo effect".
Pinpointing the sweet spot of the pain killing placebo effect could result in the design of more personalized medicine for the 100 million Americans with chronic pain.
Even in trying to beneficently help others through providing positive expectations or the medically-relevant placebo effect, not being completely transparent or honest can be uniquely useful.
It has been noticed that diseases with a greater degree of subjectivity, in psychogenic disorders, the placebo effect intensity is higher.
The trial, designed to reduce the placebo effect and site variability, will last for 12 weeks, with an observational follow-up period of six months to assess NSI-189's long-lasting durability of benefits.