Understanding The Placebo Effect

Placebos In Medical Research And Trials

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Placebos are often used in clinical trials for new medications and other treatments. The first stage, of course, is studying and developing a new treatment in the lab before testing on real volunteer patients. Should the lab results indicate the treatment is likely to work, it then moves on, sometimes to animals first, and then to humans. The medical researchers want to determine if the new treatment works, if it is better than current treatments, if the potential benefits outweigh the risks, what the side effects are, as well as what patient groups are likely to find the new treatment helpful.

If there is a standard treatment already available, the clinical trial often uses it as a control group to determine effectiveness. If there is no other treatment or medication available, researchers will typically use a placebo as a control group while others receive the new treatment to ensure any effects they have are the result of the treatment, rather than another factor.

Continue reading to learn more about the role of placebos in clinical trials.

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