Bioethics professor and formal medical doctor Paul Biegler discusses the ongoing battles for effectiveness-supremacy between antidepressants and placebos in The Conversation. “Some think advertising is the reason placebos in antidepressant drug trials have become 14% more effective in the last 20 years,” writes Biegler. “Advertisements for drugs show dramatic improvements that heighten expectations.”
“Others argue real drugs are actually superior placebos,” suggests Beigler. “In blinded drug trials, people who get side effects often work out they’re on the real drug and not the placebo. This makes them expect to improve, so the placebo effect kicks in.”
According to Biegler, one US study of 1,200 doctors found more than half prescribe what they personally believe to be placebos, such as vitamin pills.
Antidepressants may be no better than a placebo, so why take them? (The Conversation, October 27, 2014)