Document Detail

Placebo: misunderstandings and prejudices.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20019863     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: The role of placebos is often misunderstood, leading both to overvaluation and to inappropriate disdain. The effect of a placebo that contains no pharmacologically active substance is often confused with the effect of administration by a physician. The aim of this article is to review the current data on placebos, evaluate these data critically, and provide a well-founded and understandable explanation of the effects that placebos do and do not possess.
METHODS: Selective literature review.
RESULTS: Recent studies employing modern imaging techniques have provided objective correlates of the effect of placebo administration for certain indications. A recent paper even suggested a genetic basis for it. Two main mechanisms underlie the effect of placebo administration: conditioned reflexes, which are subconscious, and the patient's expectations, which are conscious. Further factors include the physician's personality and the setting in which the treatment takes place.
CONCLUSIONS: The mechanisms of action of placebo administration, with which positive therapeutic effects can be achieved with little effort, should be consciously exploited by physicians when giving their patients pharmacologically active medications as well.
Matthias Breidert; Karl Hofbauer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review     Date:  2009-11-13
Journal Detail:
Title:  Deutsches Ärzteblatt international     Volume:  106     ISSN:  1866-0452     ISO Abbreviation:  Dtsch Arztebl Int     Publication Date:  2009 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-12-18     Completed Date:  2010-03-02     Revised Date:  2013-05-31    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101475967     Medline TA:  Dtsch Arztebl Int     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  751-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Medizinische Klinik I, Kliniken im Naturpark Altmühltal, Klinik Kösching Krankenhausstr. 19 85092 Kösching, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Clinical Trials as Topic*
Conditioning (Psychology)*
Patient Satisfaction*
Placebo Effect*
Set (Psychology)*
Comment In:
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):568-9; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830273 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):568; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830272 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):570; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830278 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):570-1; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830277 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):569; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830276 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):569-70; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830275 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):570; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830279 ]
Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010 Aug;107(33):568; author reply 571-2   [PMID:  20830274 ]

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