Don’t Underestimate Placebos


placeboPlacebo or empty drug without content are often used by doctors to treat a particular patient. Usually patients do not know the drugs given were placebos, but the healing effect is more powerful than a real medicine.

This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect, the recovery of patients taking empty drugs or a placebo. Typically, a placebo usually only contain lactose powder which does not have any efficacy as a drug.

In clinical trials, patients were not told that they were given placebos as test subjects in a comparison group was not affected. Effects that occurred in this group were then compared with the test group who received the original drug.

But sometimes the placebo effect appears, so that the patient remains cured although they actually only consumed lactose. These effects arise because patients who received placebo did not know what they took, but the hypnotic effect could make the drug actually works like original drugs.

In a research conducted at Harvard Medical School recently, patients which were told that they were given placebos can even still provide healing properties. Despite knowing that the drug consumed is empty, some patients in the research could recover from intestinal irritation. The study was published recently in the PROS One journal.

The research led by Professor Ted Kaptchuk involved 80 patients who were divided into 2 groups. The first group received no treatment, another group received the empty in a pack labeled  ‘placebo’.

Within 3 weeks, the patient’s disease progression in both groups began to show difference. Compared to the group who did not receive treatment at all, the number of patients who recovered in the group given the empty drug were 2 times larger.

“I am amazed at these results. Placebo remains efficacious even though patients were told that medicine did not exist in it,” said Professor Kaptchuk according to the Telegraph.

The effects of placebo drugs is believed to appear because patients believe in their brains that these drugs can heal. So do not underestimate the ability of the brain in curing diseases. Empty drug or a placebo that is used proved to be as effective with the original medication thanks to the power of the human mind.