There’s nothing here, but what here’s mine

This is not a drug

This is not a pipe. René Magritte

Interesting piece from The Guardian

‘I knew they were sugar pills but I felt fantastic’ – the rise of open-label placebos

Linda Buonanno had suffered 15 years of intense cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and pain she describes as “worse than labour”. She was willing to try anything to get relief from her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and leapt at the chance to take part in a trial of an experimental new therapy. Her hope turned to disappointment, however, when the researcher handed her a bottle of capsules he described as placebos containing no active ingredients.

Nonetheless, she took the pills twice daily. Four days later, her symptoms all but vanished. “I know it sounds crazy,” says Buonanno, of Methuen, Massachusetts. “I felt fantastic. I knew they were just sugar pills, but I was able to go out dancing and see my friends again.”

Sadly for Buonanno, when the study ended she was unable to obtain further effective placebos and her symptoms returned(emphasis added)

Unable to obtain sugar pills, but I’d bet the house that Buonanno could get a prescription for opioids without raising a sweat.

-Tim Cocks

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