• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of bmjBMJ helping doctors make better decisionsSearch bmj.comLatest content
BMJ. Aug 26, 1995; 311(7004): 551–553.
PMCID: PMC2550609

Concept of true and perceived placebo effects.

Abstract

We often and wrongly equate the response seen in the placebo arm of a clinical trial with the placebo effect. In order to obtain the true placebo effect, other non-specific effects can be identified by including an untreated control group in clinical trials. A review of the literature shows that most authors confuse the perceived placebo effect with the true placebo effect. The true placebo effect is highly variable, depending on several factors that are not fully understood. A distinction between the perceived and the true placebo effects would be helpful in understanding the complex phenomena involved in a placebo response.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (644K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Turner JA, Deyo RA, Loeser JD, Von Korff M, Fordyce WE. The importance of placebo effects in pain treatment and research. JAMA. 1994 May 25;271(20):1609–1614. [PubMed]
  • Joyce CR. Placebo and complementary medicine. Lancet. 1994 Nov 5;344(8932):1279–1281. [PubMed]
  • Rothman KJ, Michels KB. The continuing unethical use of placebo controls. N Engl J Med. 1994 Aug 11;331(6):394–398. [PubMed]
  • Oh VM. The placebo effect: can we use it better? BMJ. 1994 Jul 9;309(6947):69–70. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Holroyd KA, Penzien DB. Pharmacological versus non-pharmacological prophylaxis of recurrent migraine headache: a meta-analytic review of clinical trials. Pain. 1990 Jul;42(1):1–13. [PubMed]
  • Hashish I, Harvey W, Harris M. Anti-inflammatory effects of ultrasound therapy: evidence for a major placebo effect. Br J Rheumatol. 1986 Feb;25(1):77–81. [PubMed]
  • Ho KH, Hashish I, Salmon P, Freeman R, Harvey W. Reduction of post-operative swelling by a placebo effect. J Psychosom Res. 1988;32(2):197–205. [PubMed]
  • Helms JM. Acupuncture for the management of primary dysmenorrhea. Obstet Gynecol. 1987 Jan;69(1):51–56. [PubMed]
  • Sinclair R, Cassuto J, Högström S, Lindén I, Faxén A, Hedner T, Ekman R. Topical anesthesia with lidocaine aerosol in the control of postoperative pain. Anesthesiology. 1988 Jun;68(6):895–901. [PubMed]
  • Nyboe Andersen A, Damm P, Tabor A, Pedersen IM, Harring M. Prevention of breast pain and milk secretion with bromocriptine after second-trimester abortion. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1990;69(3):235–238. [PubMed]
  • Lewith GT, Kenyon JN. Physiological and psychological explanations for the mechanism of acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain. Soc Sci Med. 1984;19(12):1367–1378. [PubMed]
  • Ernst E. Placebos in medicine. Lancet. 1995 Jan 7;345(8941):65–66. [PubMed]

Articles from BMJ : British Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...