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Placebos Can Work Even When You Know You’re Taking a Dummy Pill

dummy pills placebo effect

Story at-a-glance -

  • A placebo is an inert substance that has no effect on your body. In medical research, placebos are used as controls against which the effects of drugs are measured
  • The placebo effect taps into your body’s own virtual pharmacy. Drugs work because your body has chemical receptors for the drugs, but you also have natural brain chemicals that act on those same receptors, effectively mimicking the results of drugs
  • Body chemicals are released in response to or in accordance with your mental or emotional expectations or beliefs
  • Placebos can work even when the patient is fully aware they’re getting a dummy pill. In one study, nearly 60 percent of patients openly told they were given a placebo pill reported relief from irritable bowel syndrome, compared to just 35 percent of those who received no treatment
  • The placebo effect accounts for more than half of the therapeutic value of the migraine drug Maxalt, and subjects reported pain relief even when they were informed that they were receiving a placebo, when compared to no treatment at all

By Dr. Mercola

By definition, a placebo is an inert substance that has no effect on your body. In medical research, placebos (such as sugar pills) are used as controls against which the effects of drugs are measured.


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