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 ?
They need to compare drug products against other drugs that treat the same indication rather than comparing a drug against a sugar pill. What we want in the end are drugs that actually have better benefit.
'Testing has revealed that people often experience the effects they believe a drug will have on them even when it is only a sugar pill.
Patients taking a sugar pill went from 20.9 episodes per week to 10.2 episodes per week.
But we think most of our readers want to get their medicine straight, not coated in a sugar pill. There are plenty of uplifting stories to report, though, and you'll often read them here first.
(You may have heard a placebo described as a "sugar pill.") Some studies use both a standard treatment and a placebo as controls.
As with all weight-loss programs that use drugs, however, much of the lost weight was regained when the subjects stopped taking the drug--but not quite as much as in the control group who received a placebo (sugar pill).
Even in ancient times doctors knew that the relief a patient may feel simply upon seeing a doctor and/or being given an "inert treatment" such as a sugar pill can play a role in recovery.
This is particularly important since "satisfied users" may, in some cases, have experienced the sugar pill, or "placebo," effect.
A sugar pill prescription for chronic pain patients would result in vast cost savings for patients and the healthcare system, Apkarian said.
While the majority of IT security vendors are opting to scare organisations with their demands for rip and replace strategies to safeguard personal data, a number of small business insurers are opting for a sugar pill instead.
The difference between flibanserin and a sugar pill was deemed statistically insignificant in 2010 after a debate among the committee members which included seven women and four men.