Patients Knowing They Took A Placebo Reported Improved Symptoms

RoseTracker| A small study of 80 patients suffering from irritable bowell syndrome has rocked our assumptions about the ‘placebo effect’. It has long been assumed that the placebo effect works because of the power of positive thinking, which can include a change in cultural standards or even ‘permission’ given to heal. The patients believes s(he) is taking the drug and gets better.

In some studies, the placebo effect is greater than the net benefit from the drug being tested. 

Bothered by the ethical aspects of not telling patients that they are taking the placebo, Harvard’s Ted Kaptchuk decided to honestly tell patients that they were taking the placebo.

“Not only did we make it absolutely clear that these pills had no active ingredient and were made from inert substances, but we actually had ‘placebo’ printed on the bottle,” says Kaptchuk. “We told the patients that they didn’t have to even believe in the placebo effect. Just take the pills.” via Science Daily

Not only did patients happily take the placebo but nearly twice as many patients reported relief from symptoms.