How Are Placebos Used? Researchers use placebos during studies to help them understand what effect a new drug or some other treatment might have on a particular condition.
For instance, some people in a study might be given a new drug to lower cholesterol. Others would get a placebo. None of the people in the study will know if they got the real treatment or the placebo.
What Is the Placebo Effect? Sometimes a person can have a response to a placebo. The response can be positive or negative. For instance, the person's symptoms may improve. Or the person may have what appears to be side effects from the treatment. These responses are known as the "placebo effect."
There are some conditions in which a placebo can produce results even when people know they are taking a placebo. Studies show that placebos can have an effect on conditions such as:
· Sleep disorders
· Irritable bowel syndrome
In one study involving asthma, people using a placebo inhaler did no better on breathing tests than sitting and doing nothing. But when researchers asked for people's perception of how they felt, the placebo inhaler was reported as being as effective as medicine in providing relief.
How Does the Placebo Effect Work? Research on the placebo effect has focused on the relationship of mind and body. One of the most common theories is that the placebo effect is due to a person's expectations. If a person expects a pill to do something, then it's possible that the body's own chemistry can cause effects similar to what a medication might have caused.
For instance, in one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant. After taking the pill, their pulse rate sped up, their blood pressure increased, and their reaction speeds improved. When people were given the same pill and told it was to help them get to sleep, they experienced the opposite effects.
Experts also say that there is a relationship between how strongly a person expects to have results and whether or not results occur. The stronger the feeling, the more likely it is that a person will experience positive effects. There may be a profound effect due to the interaction between a patient and health care provider.
The following is copied from the textbook of basic nursing fifth edition written by Caroline Bunker Rosdahl, RN, BSN, MA page 1095 Glossary section
“Placebo (plah-se’bo): an inactive or nonmedicinal substance given in place of a medication to gratify a patient without his or her knowledge of its actual lack of therapeutic value.”
Now that you understand what the placebo effect is, let me explain why I’m sharing this with you. Yesterday I posted a RANT regarding the drug Acetaminophen having been found not to be effective when used to treat low back pain. This RANT came to be because of a news show I was watching. During the brief report the reporter Robin Meade (HLN News) also reported that although the medical experts said using Acetaminophen to treat low back pain was equal to using a sugar pill, the doctors suggested that those who felt Acetaminophen helped their pain should continue to use it.
By making this suggestion the doctors in my opinion have said that use of Acetaminophen in this manner is in fact a placebo drug. Using the examples given above, just as the patient having received the placebo believes they are better or experienced side effects just because they received a pill, it shows how strong our minds are. We have the power within us to tell ourselves whatever we need to believe something to be true even when there is proof that it doesn't.
What do you tell yourself so you will believe something to be true? Is it in fact true or is it true just because you tell yourself that? Your mind is a powerful tool. Use it for your benefit.
taken from Webmd.com - all rights belong to them