1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum



Updated December 25, 2010

Placebos originated as sugar pills given to patients who might or might not get better simply by believing the pills would work. Today, a placebo is (generally) a pill that looks just like a real medication but has no active ingredients. It is used in clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the medication. If the medicine is in liquid, powder or capsule form, the placebo takes the same form. Researchers can also evaluate the frequency of side effects by comparing reactions of the true medication to the placebo.

For more, including information on "active" placebos, see What is a Placebo?

Also see Surprising Information About Placebos.

Pronunciation: pluh-SEE-boh
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Bipolar Disorder
  4. Bipolar for Beginners
  5. Glossary
  6. Glossary - P
  7. Placebo - Definition of Placebo

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.