Medicines

Expensive placebos most effective


Patients may get more benefit from a drug that they think is expensive than one they believe to be cheaper, a study on the effects of placebos shows.

The US researchers told 12 patients with Parkinson’s disease that they were comparing two formulations of the same drug, one cost $100 and the other cost $1500. Both drugs were really saline solution.

The patients who were given the “expensive” drug first had a two-fold improvement in motor function over the cheaper placebo, the study authors reported in Neurology. 

Despite some limitations, the study “opens our eyes to another nuance of placebo effect with implications for clinical practice, an accompanying editorial said.

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