Studies have shown that patients improve with placebo ‘treatment’, and placebo is even discussed as a recommend course of therapy in some cases
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have shown that ‘placebo therapy’ could be effective for short-term pain relief in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), but does not have a lasting impact.
For the treatment of pain, the magnitude of a ‘placebo-effect’ – a combination of the pain getting better naturally and the brain believing that a dummy drug intervention can help – is thought to be as much as a 25% to 35% reduction in patient discomfort.
Alongside such an effective ‘therapy’, however, it is unclear what impact a ‘real’ drug treatment can have.
It is known that patients with a variety of health conditions often get better with placebo therapies, even though these have no specific health benefits – they simply ‘look’ like the real thing. Studies into irritable bowel syndrome, for example, have shown that patients improve with placebo ‘treatment’, and placebo is even discussed as a recommend course of therapy in some cases.
The Liverpool team assessed the results of all clinical trials relating to long-term CRPS patients – a condition that can develop after small trauma to the limbs – conducted in the UK and internationally, to understand the effect of placebo therapy and how large the impact is on patients with the condition.
Dr Andreas Goebel, from the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine, explains: We found that patients experienced significant pain relief minutes after a placebo therapy, such as salt water injections, but unexpectedly at a later time, and even with repeated placebo applications, there was minimal or no impact on reducing the symptoms of the condition.”
The results suggest that CRPS will not improve naturally over time, and there is little fluctuation in the pain intensity of the condition.
Dr Goebel added: “It seems that the brain of CRPS patients cannot be easily ‘tricked’ into believing that a dummy intervention is effective. This means that health specialists should be cautious when considering placebo interventions for these patients.”
The research is published in the journal, PAIN.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
All recent news
Obituary: Benny Pollack
Risk factors associated with severe and fatal cases of COVID-19 identified
Architecture academics on the view from your lockdown window
COVID-19 and alcohol – a dangerous cocktail
University lockdown lecturer engages with new audience online
"Just because Boris Johnson and the Prince of Wales have had #Covid19 doesn’t mean the disease strikes all people equally"
New @bmj_latest piece by @livuniHLS Profs Dame Margaret Whitehead, Ben Barr & David Taylor-Robinson #healthinequalities #LivUniCovid https://go.shr.lc/2LU5Gdm
We are not “all in it together”—less privileged in society are suffering the brunt of the damage https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/05/22/covid-19-we-are-not-all-in-it-together-less-privileged-in-society-are-suffering-the-brunt-of-the-damage/
@felly500 @BWDDPH @martinmckee @AbdulRazaq_PH @SimonCapewell99 @ProfBambra
Dr @soozaphone on @LivUniPsyc's new ‘Coping with COVID podcast’ that provides psychological support to medical, allied health professions and nursing students working in the #NHS during the #COVIDー19 pandemic.
More info https://bit.ly/2A5IOET