Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rx for success

What turns a dummy pill into a catalyst for relieving pain, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, or the tremors of Parkinson's disease?

The brain's own healing mechanisms, unleashed by the belief that a phony medication is the real thing.

The most important ingredient in any placebo is the doctor's bedside manner

But according to research, the color of a tablet can boost the effectiveness even of genuine medications

Or help convince a patient that a placebo is a potent remedy

Yellow pills make the most effective antidepressants, like little doses of pharmaceutical sunshine.

Red pills can give you a more stimulating kick

Like a wake up

The color green reduces anxiety, adding more chill to the pill.

White tablets— particularly those labeled "antacid"—are superior for soothing ulcers, even when they contain nothing but lactose.

More is better, scientists say.

Placebos taken four times a day deliver greater relief than those taken twice daily.

Branding matters.

Placebos stamped or packaged with widely recognized trademarks are more effective than "generic" placebos.

Clever names can add a placebo boost to the physiological punch in real drugs.

Viagra implies both vitality and an unstoppable performance 

Steve Silberman

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