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The word “placere” means to please from the Latin language for the word placebo (Carroll, 00). The use of placebos has always been an interesting and controversial concept. The placebo effect is a mental relief of the patient than the actual effect on the disorder. This essay will describe what the placebo effect is, how it will be used to treat patients and the limitations of placebos.


Doctors or administrators believe that a placebo is a medication or treatment that is inert or innocuous, but for the patient it could be an effective remedy (Carroll, 00). Placebos can be as simple as sugar pills or starch pills (Amaral et al., 00). The placebo effect is the improvement of the patients health after taking the placebo and not the actual medical drugs (Christensen, 001). Carroll (00) described that the placebo effect is psychological thus means that the patient believes they are going to get better and their bodies will start to heal. Carroll (00) also stated that a person’s beliefs and hopes about treatment, combined with their suggestibility, may have a significant biochemical effect. The placebo effect can be viewed in a different way. It can be used to observe two sets of controlled groups for clinical trials. This is used to study new medicine in order to evaluate its real value. Also, the placebo effect can be viewed in medical practice. It can be useful for medical practice because the non-medicamentous effects can be beneficial to the patient. The healing action of specific therapeutic agents can be reinforced by the placebo effect because when the doctor is telling the patient that they are going to be healed and creates a better bond between the patient and the doctor (Amaral et al, 00)


Placebos are occasionally given to patients who are deceived into thinking that the placebo is a known causal curative agent or remedy (Christensen, 001). Subjective evidence for the placebo is gathered in this way. Why an inert substance (such as placebos) or fake surgery would be effective is not known (Carroll, 00). Clinical studies are for people who believe there is scientific evidence for the placebo effect. In these clinical studies or trials, there are two controlled groups, one group who is being administered by a placebo and the other group receiving the active medicine. The bigger the difference in the results between the second and the first groups, the bigger the pharmacological effectiveness of the studied substance is (Amaral et al., 001).


A drug is considered to be beneficial only if it can beat the placebo. Psychological studies have suggested that the meaning of treatment matters. For example, people receiving a placebo that they are told are morphine, report more pain relief than people given placebos masquerading as aspirin. Likewise, placebos that people think are brand-name aspirins reduce headache pain more effectively than placebos disguised as generic aspirin (Christensen, 001). Carroll (00) infers that there are several cases where an active drug has serious side effects. For example, such a placebo use, might enable doctors to reduce the drug dosage without eliminating the treatments beneficial effect. However, if the patient realizes that they are getting a placebo, it may weaken the effect. Amaral et al. (00) states in a different case, those placebos for narcotic pain killers slowed people’s breathing. This was a typical side effect for narcotics but it also suggested that conditioning also played a role in placebos’ effects


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To conclude this essay, these studies show that people’s perception of their treatment plays an important role in healing. In other words, people not only think that a drug or procedure will benefit them, but over time, they unconsciously associate the taking of medicine with relief. This essay has stated what the placebo effect is, how it will be used to care for a patient with given evidence and the restrictions of the placebo effect. Up to now medical science has not fully explained what is the cause (or causes) of the placebo effect. But it seems that it is the result of the patients expectation of an effect (Amaral et al., 00).


Amaral, Julio Rocha and Renato M.E. Sabbatini. Placebo Effect The Power of the Sugar Pill. February 5, 00.


(Online) Available http//www.epub.org.br/cm/n0/mente/placebo1.htm


Carroll, Robert Todd. The Placebo Effect. February 5, 00.


(Online) Available http//skepdic.com/placebe.html


“Medicinal Mimicry.” Science News February 00174.


Christensen, Damaris.


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