The More Expensive the Placebo the Greater the Effect

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( — January 29, 2015)  — The researchers at the American Academy of Neurology found that the price of a drug itself is a major contributor in the expected effectiveness of the medication, regardless of the fact that generic and branded drugs have no differences.

“The expectations as well as perception of the Patients for a drug play a crucial role in the effectiveness of their treatments. The placebo effect has been well documented, especially in people with Parkinson’s disease,” said Alberto J. Espay, lead study author from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio and the American Academy of Neurology.

Apparently, the researchers wanted to see “if the people’s perceptions of the cost of the drug they received would affect the placebo response,” Espay said,

In a study, the researchers used two shots for the Parkinson’s disease. In fact, both shots were placebos, a saline solution that has no impact on human body.

The subjects were only informed they are getting two different medications: One initial shot which was followed by a second shot after the original one “wore off.”

The researchers had also told the participants that the shots are “tested and proven equally effective,” however, one is $100 and other is $1,500 per dose.  

Subjects stated that the ‘expensive’ placebo was better than the ‘cheaper’ counterpart is, as it resulted in more effective in improved motor skills and minimized hand shaking among the Parkinson’s subjects.

Actually, the researchers found that the effectiveness of the ‘placebo’ is directly linked with perception of the cost of ‘the cure’, because the subjects found the expensive placebo, much more effective than the cheaper placebo, so they claim.

“If we can find strategies to harness the placebo response for enhancing the benefits of treatments, we could potentially maximize the benefit of treatment as well as reduce the dosage of drugs needed and possibly the side effects from them,” Espay concluded.