Dry Bones:Prozac Problem?
"In the 20 years since its launch, 40m people worldwide have taken the so-called wonder drug - but research revealed this week shows that Prozac, and similar antidepressants, are no more effective than a sugar pill." -more
For years scientists have had to deal with the "placebo effect", the fact that a healthy proportion of patients who receive sugar pills but believe they are receiving an effective medicine get cured. There is also some evidence that 50 per cent of the pain-killing effect of pain medication is not because of the effectiveness of the medicine, but because of the placebo effect!
Questions that arise from this include:
1. Is there a reverse placebo effect? Sort of a "nocebo effect"? i.e. If you take a drug but think that it's only a sugar pill, will the medicine not work?
2. Could it be that sugar pills are actually a new wonder drug?
3. If a would-be drug dealer sells his customers what they think is ecstasy, but only gives them sugar pills, will they still get high? And is such a "pusher" breaking the law?
4. To test a new medicine, scientists give half of the subjects the "real" drug and half the "placebo". So if someone wanted to do a study of the effectiveness of placebos you'd have to give half of the subjects the "real" placebo and the other half you'd give... uh?..
So what's your answer to these "four questions"?