Analgesic effects of branding in treatment of headaches.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.282.6276.1576 (Published 16 May 1981)
Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1576
  1. A Branthwaite,
  2. P Cooper

    Abstract

    The effect of branding--that is, the labelling and marketing--of a well-known proprietary analgesic used to treat headaches was studied in a sample of women given a branded or unbranded form with either an inert or an active formulation. The sample was also divided according to whether the subjects were regular users of the brand or users of other brands. The findings showed that branded tablets were overall significantly more effective than unbranded tablets in relieving headaches. Differential effects were observed: the effects of branding were more noticeable one hour after the tablets were taken compared with 30 minutes; in the women given the placebo; and in the users of the brand compared with the users of other brands. It is hypothesised that these effects are due to increased confidence in obtaining relief with a well-known brand, and that branding has an analgesic effect that interacts with the analgesic effects of placebos and active ingredients.

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