Sunday, March 20, 2011

88% Of Bavarian Doctors Give Their Patients Placebos

See Half of all German doctors prescribe placebos, new study shows: Placebo cures shown to help with depression and stomach complaints – in Bavaria, 88% of doctors have prescribed them. They might help save money, too. Here are excerpts:

"The report says placebos, from vitamin pills to homeopathic remedies or even sham surgery, can prove highly effective in various treatments."

""Placebos have a stronger impact and are more complex than we realised. They are hugely important in medicine today," says Christoph Fuchs, the managing director of the BÄK.

The report recommends that students and doctors should be taught about placebos and their usage.

"Placebos can maximise the effect of medication," says Robert Jütte, author of the study and a BÄK board member.

"They can reduce undesirable side-effects and are a more efficient usage of our healthcare budget.""

"Recent research, he said, showed that placebos had helped 59% of patients who had been suffering from an upset stomach. Used to treat depression, placebos have the same effect as antidepressants in about a third of cases.

The efficacy of a placebo depends on many factors, according to the report, including the size and colour of a pill.

The more expensive the placebo, the higher the success rate, the study found, and intravenous injections are shown to be more effective than oral medication.

It's also a question of trust. Placebos produce better results if a patient feels their doctor understands their concerns, and believes they are being taken seriously, the study says."

I have blogged about this before. See

Study: Half of American Doctors Give Patients Placebos Without Telling Them.

Can A Product Work Just Because It's Expensive?

Placebos: The More You Think They Cost, The Better They Work


Angela said...

This is really interesting. I wonder if the effectiveness would wear off if people become aware that such a high number of doctors were giving out placebos.

Maybe, they would stop going to the doctor because they 'are not giving out real medicine anyway.'

The placebo effect is so cool.

Cyril Morong said...


Thanks for dropping by and commenting. You raise the key issue-what if people knew they were getting a placebo? It wouldn't surprise me if people did stop going to the doctor or went less.