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10:26am, July 16, 2010

A placebo’s true nature
There is a serious misconception put forth in the letter from William Davis (Feedback, SN: 5/22/10, p. 31). The placebos used for placebo-controlled, double-blind studies of pharmaceuticals are not “sugar pills.” These placebos are made from the same inactive ingredients in the same proportions used to make the dosage form containing the drug under study. These inactive ingredients seldom include sugar(s). These are the ingredients that make the dosage form easy to handle (fillers), hold together as tablets (binders), dissolve quickly in the stomach (disintegrants), etc. In that sense, the ingredients are not “inert” as Davis calls them; they have very specific functions in the drug.
The purpose of a placebo-controlled study is to separate the effects, if any, of these ingredients in the body from those of the drug under study. Another purpose is to assess the effect, if any, o

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