I was reading about the placebo effect, and I wondered if there exists or ever existed a disease with the following properties:

  1. There are no known treatments for the disease that perform better than a placebo.
  2. The placebo has a positive effect on patient outcomes.

If there is a disease like this, what do doctors do? Do they give out prescriptions for sugar pills because the pills will do better than nothing?

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    $\begingroup$ The ethics of knowingly providing a placebo are iffy. There was a study once of placebos for asthma, or something like it. Some patients reported feeling better, but objective measurements of lung function showed they were not. That misconception could have been dangerous for the patients. $\endgroup$ – swbarnes2 Jul 5 '16 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ psychosomatic or imaginary ones. comes to mind. $\endgroup$ – John Jan 9 at 16:10

Placeboes can be given for diseases which are acute and not known with any serious consequences.

Prescribing placeboes for chronic condition is like playing with his life.

  • $\begingroup$ I think you may mean severe by chronic and mild by acute. Non-life threatening chronic conditions are prime candidates for placebo treatment, see homeopathy. $\endgroup$ – Dave Jan 9 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ No, thats like fooling patient if you dont have treatment.Instead, you must tell them truth you know, and let them find their treatment themselves. $\endgroup$ – Anubhav Goel Jan 9 at 18:04

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