Can the placebo effect really work without Deception?

Studies around placebo pills rely on deception. This study did the opposite; participants knew they were taking placebo pills. Surprisingly, patients treated with the placebo had better results in term of drug efficacy than patients treated only with the drug. However, this study was deceitful in a different manner. It was advertised as a ‘novel mind-body management’ study. This gave a sense of excitement to participants and is most likely the cause of success for the placebo drug.

The article concludes that if placebos are pitched right, they will be effective. Researchers are very optimistic, stating that ‘there’s at least enough in these studies worth following up in larger ones to probe why placebos work well for certain people, which could help determine if we’re missing opportunities to use them therapeutically’.

It would be very advantageous and profitable to use placebo drugs as treatments; the commercialization process would be much faster, cheaper and adverse effects on the human body would be limited. A use of placebo pills therapeutically would be groundbreaking in the world of medicines.


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Written by Alex Fridgant

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