These Fake Pills May Help You Feel Better

Confronted with a patient suffering from pain or a chronic disease for which no drugs are effective, doctors sometimes prescribe a sugar pill or vitamin. Although these “medications” have no active ingredients, patients often feel better. It’s called the “placebo effect,” and most scientists would say that it works only if the patient doesn’t know the pill is fake. But a new clinical trial shows that patients can get better on a placebo even if they know the truth.

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