Asthma sufferers say a placebo is as good as a drug for easing their breathing
A placebo – or dummy pill – is every bit as effective as a pharmaceutical drug as far as the patient is concerned, and it comes without the risk of serious side effects, a new study has discovered.
Asthma patients said they were able to breathe more easily after they were given a placebo – even though there was no physical difference in their lung function. The placebo was as effective as an asthma drug, an albuterol bronchodilator.
Lead researcher Ted Kaptchuk, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said that the “ritual” of treatment could be the key in determining any improvement in the patient. “The idea of receiving care is a critical component of what patients value in health care,” he said.
(Source: New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 365: 119).