Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Medication without undesirable side effects?

What makes medicaments work is not only their ingredients. According to several studies, there are also psychological factors that contribute to the effectiveness of medication.

Falk Eippert and his colleagues from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf investigated the effects of a placebo analgesic on pain perception. They administered a placebo pill to one group of subjects and no medication to the other. It turned out that the pain rating of subjects that had taken the placebo pill was lower than the one of subjects who hadn’t.

You can find the original article here.

Winfried Rief from the Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the University of Marburg, Germany, and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 96 studies on placebo antidepressants. They came to the conclusion that the placebo effect greatly contributed to the effect of the drugs.

The original article is here.

This means that apparently placebos can obtain results that are comparable to medication containing active agents. Just without the undesirable side effects. Therefore, the attitude towards the medication seems to play a crucial role in obtaining optimal results during the healing process. Again, we come to the conclusion that our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings influence our health far more than we think (see “Quantum physics, genetics, and psychology?“).

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