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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Half of German doctors prescribe placebos - and they work

A study shows that most doctors have successfully treated depression or stomach complaints with the power of positive thought.

Image: erix! via Flickr

A NEW STUDY in Germany has shown that over half of the country’s doctors prescribe placebos to their patients – and say such actions successfully treat problems like depression or stomach complaints.

The study, compiled for the German Medical Association and reported in the Guardian, said placebos – which could range from vitamin pills to homeopathic remedies, and even (in extreme cases) sham surgeries – were “highly effective” in most cases.

In the southern province of Bavaria, eight out of every nine GPs gave patients prescriptions for placebos.

The Guardian also quotes the study’s author, Robert Jutte, who said placebos – though unexplained – led to the reduction of “undesirable side-effects, and are a more efficient use of our healthcare budget.”

Such placebos had had the same effect as antidepressants in about a third of cases, and had help 59 per cent of patients who had complained about stomach problems.

The report further found that a placebo’s effectiveness depends on many factors including the size, colour and price of a pill.

Read more by Abby d’Arcy Hughes in the Guardian >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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