Placebo Effect

The Placebo Effect is Real

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Even though medical researchers told Chuck Park that he might be getting a sugar pill, the 30-year-old software producer was pretty sure he was getting the real thing. Just a few weeks into the clinical trial, Park’s depression started to lift. He began to feel less anxious and sad.

So when Park learned he’d been taking a placebo all along, it was a surprise.

“I was fully expecting to receive the real drug even though I knew that the placebo was a possibility,” remembers Park of Culver City, Calif. “I guess I wanted it to work — and in a way, it did.

Sugar Pills as Effective as Antidepressants

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After thousands of studies, hundreds of millions of prescriptions and tens of billions of dollars in sales, two things are certain about pills that treat depression: Antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft work. And so do sugar pills.

A new analysis has found that in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as -- or better than -- antidepressants. Companies have had to conduct numerous trials to get two that show a positive result, which is the Food and Drug Administration's minimum for approval.

The Placebo Effect on Depression Patients

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The medicinal power of positive thinking has been demonstrated by researchers who contend that patients suffering from depression have a noticeable, positive physical response to placebo, or "sugar pill," treatment, that significantly differs from reactions to medication.

48 Percent of Doctors Admit to Prescribing Placebos Just to Shut You Up

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The next time your doctor prescribes you a medication, you have about a 50-50 chance that it’s a placebo, according to a new study by University of Chicago researchers.

Their survey of 466 faculty physicians at Chicago-area medical schools found that 45 percent said they had prescribed placebos in regular clinical practice, with just over half having prescribed them in the previous year.

The most common reasons why doctors prescribed placebos were to:

* Calm a patient down
* Respond to demands for medication the doctor thought were unnecessary

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