Is there an inverse placebo effect?

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Offline Richard Steinke

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Is there an inverse placebo effect?
« on: 12/01/2010 11:30:02 »
Richard Steinke asked the Naked Scientists:
The placebo effect occurs in double-blind, placebo-controlled experiments when some of the patients receive a therapeutic benefit, even though they are receiving a placebo rather a real treatment.

The related "Nocebo" effect occurs when a subject's symptoms are worsened by the administration of a placebo, based on the subject's expectation of negative side effects from receiving an inert drug.

There is a third type, which I cannot find any reference to - can you provide an answer?  

To wit: the subjects who received a therapeutic benefit from the placebo, must have believed that in fact they were getting the real treatment.  Conversely, there must be some subjects who are actually receiving the real treatment, who for whatever reason, form the opinion that they are actually getting the placebo.  For them, they do not expect to get either benefits or negative effects.

Is there evidence that actual therapeutic benefit of real treatments is reduced, because the patient believes he/she is receiving a placebo?  

In other words, if believing that a drug is real can make a fake drug work sometimes, does believing that a real drug is fake, work to reduce the real benefit, sometimes?  If this effect is real, it would throw off the reliability of the test by discounting the effectiveness of the treatment.

Do researchers routinely ask participants at the end of the study, whether they believed they were getting the placebo or the real treatment, then analyzed those results to see how they correlate to therapeutic benefit among those that DID NOT get the placebo?

From a newbielink: [nonactive] in Toronto

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/01/2010 11:30:02 by _system »