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Doctor insights on: Placebo

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Placebo (Overview)

Placebos are generally medications and sometimes physical or psychological substitutes which in themselves have no known effect but which cause the patient to feel as if they are getting some effect. They depend upon patient expectations and the fact that there is a strong psychological component to many physical/health problems.


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How does the placebo effect works?

How does the placebo effect works?

Psychological: Some of my patients get better simply when handed the prescription! The power of "belief" is absolutely mind-boggling. Recognizing that "the secret" involves "intention" can really empower you and enable you to overcome all manner of resistances, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. The mind is an amazing instrument! ...Read more

Placebo (Overview)

Placebos are generally medications and sometimes physical or psychological substitutes which in themselves have no known effect but which cause the patient to feel as if they are getting some effect. They depend upon patient expectations and the fact that there is a strong psychological component to many physical/health problems.


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What is the point of placebos in drug trials?

What is the point of placebos in drug trials?

Rare today: When we were discovering medications for previously-untreatable illnesses, we needed to compare the results in the treatment group with results in people who were not getting the medicine. The natural history of the illness in the population ; the psychologic effect of taking rx are studied in this way to avoid self-deception. Today, a new drug is compared to standard rx (clinical equipoise). ...Read more

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Can I start taking my placebo pills a week early?

Yes you can.: If you take the placebo pills early it may make your cycle irregular. It may take a month or two to regulate. Make sure that you use a backup method for contraception until your cycle returns to normal. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: placebo?

Inactive substitute: Placebos are generally medications and sometimes physical or psychological substitutes which in themselves have no known effect but which cause the patient to feel as if they are getting some effect. They depend upon patient expectations and the fact that there is a strong psychological component to many physical/health problems. ...Read more

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What's a good way to check if my pill is a placebo?

Not possible: You have to rely on the packaging or the integrity of the prescriber. Placebos can be very useful but not if the recipient is told its a placebo. Unless you have access to a commercial chemical analysis laboratory, you cannot tell from looking at the pills you have. ...Read more

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How come we test new drugs against nothing (placebo)?

No longer the case: Today's drug trials actually compare the proposed medication against standard treatment ("clinical equipoise"). Anyone who tells you otherwise is living the 1950's. ...Read more

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What is a good way to determine if you are taking a placebo?

Placebo: Perhaps if the condition being studied does not improve. However, you may never know the difference because there is a proven placebo effect, this is where the placebo, actually works as well as the other medication being studied. ...Read more

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The placebo pills work the same as the "active" pills? You still protected?

Placebo pills: The placebo pills in a cycle of oral contraceptives are inactive. They are placed in the package to help you remember to take a pill every day of your cycle. If you take the active pills correctly at the same time every day, you are protected against pregnancy. It does not matter if you take the placebos or not. ...Read more

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Is it possible that the placebo effect be used to create a new class of drugs?

I don't think so: Because placebos are placebos. There are ethical considerations when giving an unknowing patient a placebo. ...Read more

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How is it proven that cool scultiping really work and not just the placebo effect?

Cryolipolysis: This is not yet mainstream. The idea is that if fat beneath the skin is frozen, it will tend not to accumulate there in the future. It's done specifically to remove love handles or bumps in particular places. The fda permission doesn't mean it works. You'd do better to diet and exercise. ...Read more

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I only spotted once while taking the 4 placebo pills and it was in the 2nd day. Is that normal?

Probably: The pill with only 4 placebos affects different women in different ways. Some women only spot during the placebo days, others don't bleed at all and still others have regular periods. If you are in the group with only spotting, consider yourself lucky! If you are worried, do a pregnancy test the first time it happens for peace of mind. Best wishes! ...Read more

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Are you protected the week after placebo pills; like when you start taking active pills on time again?

Are you protected the week after placebo pills; like when you start taking active pills on time again?

Yes: If a woman is taking birth control pills properly and at least on her second or third pack, she is protected every day, regardless of where she is on her pack. ...Read more

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Why are there placebo pills with bc? What are they for? And how does bc work? Combination pills specifically.

Why are there placebo pills with bc? What are they for? And how does bc work? Combination pills specifically.

Mostly for timing: Placebo pills help patients remember to continue taking a pill every day, until they take the next pack. They are there to "permit" you to have a period when the hormones are removed from your system. Bc pills work mainly by stopping ovulation (releasing of the egg). ...Read more

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I took my placebo pill on the day of daylight savinga ending do I still keep my regular time when this week is over?

I took my placebo pill on the day of daylight savinga ending do I still keep my regular time when this week is over?

Yes: The change in times shouldn't change your schedule. Take your pill according to the clock and date currently. Thanks for Trusting HealthTap! ...Read more

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I have taken three days of active pills instead of three days of the placebo pills. Which pills do I continue taking?

I have taken three days of active pills instead of three days of the placebo pills. Which pills do I continue taking?

Active pills: So here's my reasoning. Skipping placebo pills and starting next pack of active pills is recommended method to delay menses during vacations & honeymoon etc. Some birth control packs are manufactured so you only have your period once a quarter or even less. So if you've already started next pack's active pills, you might as well continue rest of active pack and skip this month's menses. ...Read more

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2day I accidently took a placebo pill and 13 hrs later I took my regular pill, should I use protection for an amount of time?

Missed birth control: Yes should use a back contraception until next cycle is due to start and start new pack. And remember birth control pills only stops conception not Sexually Transmitted Infections. So use a condom just to be safe and healthy. ...Read more

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Would it work if I took 42 days of bc, then 7 placebo, then 42 days of bc again, then 7 placebo and then the regular 21 days of bc?

Yes. . .: The typical 28 pill birth control pack consists of 21 active pills (full of hormone) and 7 placebo (sugar) pills. Taken as directed in the proper sequence, the 21 active pills protect against pregnancy while the 7 placebo pills allow you to have a regular period. However, this period is optional such that some birth control packs consist of 83 active pills & 7 placebo ones. Or do as you've done. ...Read more

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Is it true the moon affects your mood? Sometimes I feel low around a full moon, but is this just a placebo effect because I see it? What can I do?

Is it true the moon affects your mood? Sometimes I feel low around a full moon, but is this just a placebo effect because I see it? What can I do?

Funny you should ask: Ever wonder where the word lunacy came from? (lunar = moon). When I worked on an inpatient psychiatric ward, it was pretty common to have a number of admissions at the time of a full moon. What to do? Live a balanced life. Seek therapy if it is too overwhelming. ...Read more

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Does placebo effect applies in bodybuilding?

And placebo use is?: You are assuming that placebo works by lying. Having a daily routine of medical care, having a doctor relationship, having any daily routine. All are Incredibly useful and all are reinforced by a daily routine of supplements Whether or Not the supplement does anything.
This is especially true when keeping a routine matters (weightlifting). ...Read more

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Does antebuse work because of a placebo effect?

No: Antabuse (disulfiram) blocks acetaldehyde enzyme, which is needed for the body to get rid of alcohol. If a person drinks alcohol when the enzyme is blocked, acetaldehyde levels get high and cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and a miserable feeling. It is not a placebo effect. ...Read more

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Does ziccam really work or is it the placebo affect?

Save your money: Your cold will last seven days with or without zicam. Save your money. ...Read more

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Is it ok if I take my placebo week pills a little late?

Likely yes: I am a little unclear what you mean by late, but the placebo pills are there to keep you on schedule and do not actually need to be ingested. However, you need to start the real pills at the correct time in order to remain infertile. Just start your real pills on the expected day and all should be fine. ...Read more

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Can you tell me if I could tell if my dilaudid is a placebo?

Huh?: Dilaudid is not a placebo. In this country, no one is allowed to give you a placebo if they actually wrote an RX for it. Unless your are in a research project, likely its the real stuff. ...Read more

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What are some medications for treating mental illness placebos?

What are some medications for treating mental illness placebos?

Placebo effect: All medications have to potential for "placebo effect", which is the biological effect resulting from your brain's hope & belief the treatment is going to have benefit. Even when placebo effect is present, it is transient. It passes within a few weeks. Any prolonged benefit is not placebo effect. ...Read more

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Could gingko biloba pills really work, or is it a placebo issue.?

For what condition?: Gingko has been discussed numerous times on this site and within the medical literature, and has yet to be proven of value in any ongoing medical condition. Don't misconstrue, as there are some OTC remedies that really do work such as St John's Wort, riboflavin, vitamin D-3, phosphatidyl serine, etc., BUT would not include Gingko in this list. ...Read more

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If placebo pills are sugar pills....then taking them are optional?

Yes but be careful: (If you are participating in a clinical trial then you must take your placebo pill for the results to be valid.) If it is the birth control pill then the placebo pills are optional but they are a great way to stay on schedule. If you miss one, you don't have to take it. You can discard and continue to the next one. Please be careful keeping track of the days. Best wishes ...Read more

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In drug trials, is a placebo used to avoid harming some of the volunteers?

A placebo: Is a preparation made as much as possible just like the drug under test except missing the ingredient being tested. Ideally neither the patient nor the doctor knows which each patient is given. After a period of time, the results are evaluated to see if the drug group got a significant improvement over the control (placebo) group. Hopefully neither group is harmed. ...Read more