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Placebos in medicine

BMJ 2004; 330 doi: (Published 30 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;330:45

Medical paradoxes need disentangling

  1. Zelda Di Blasi, postdoctoral fellow (,
  2. David Reilly, consultant physician
  1. University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
  2. Centre for Integrative Care, Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, Glasgow

EDITOR—As Spiegel's editorial highlights,1 paradoxes around the placebo effect can be overcome by distinguishing between a dummy pill and the effects of thoughts, feelings, and human relationships.2

Placebos may seem like a less toxic solution than pharmacological treatments for functional or chronic conditions but this carries side effects—disrupt trust, and …

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