The Placebo effect and drugs

Learn about your cancer drugs.
The Placebo effect and Drugs
The Clinical Trial is the Gold Standard in medical discipline. You take a group of people and give them a drug, and an identical group of people and give them the same drug - but it is not really. It is a specially coated sugar pill and it is called a Placebo.
The idea is to rule out any extraneous effect, like someone thinking the pill is doing them some good, and getting better - even though it’s just an ordinary old sugar pill.
For a long time now the so-called ’Quackbusters’ (pompous, very conservative medical practitioners with a hint of added big Pharma behind them) have been telling exponents of Complementary Therapies like Homeopathy that it’s all mumbo-jumbo. If there is any effect, and no research to back it up and explain it, well that’s the placebo effect. Clearly the old lady thought the Indian Head Massage or the acupuncture was going to do her some good. And it did.
It’s mind over matter. The Complementary Therapy is still mumbo-jumbo. It’s just the placebo effect.
Unexplained effects
Now Big Pharma is getting a taste of its own medicine. All too often lately in US Clinical Trials, the people taking the sugar pill have been experiencing side effects like nausea and worse. And some of them have even been getting better.
There have been several serious meetings to decide what to do, reports Time Magazine in October 2009. One idea is to go back to testing the new drug against the existing drug. Complete the sentence - the new drug is better than the old drug because...........
Both would be expected to have the same Placebo effect. Or would they? Patients on new drug trials often expect more - more nausea, but more ’survival’.
The FDA doesn’t particularly like this comparative trial, and many of the new mono-clonal antibodies and Biologic drugs attempt to tackle different problems to the more ’let’s attack the rapidly dividing cells’ traditional drug.
Watch this space.
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