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What is placebo?

Placebo is an inert study drug that does not have any medical effect. In clinical studies, the investigational medication is often compared to placebo to be able to see if the study drug shows any effect on patients. In some clinical studies, one group of participants receive placebo instead of the study drug. The groups of participants will not know if they receive placebo or the investigational medication until the project is completed.

An example of placebo being used would be the following scenario: Two groups diagnosed with the same disease receive a study drug, since they are participating in a clinical study. One of the two groups will receive a pill containing the medication, while the other group will receive a pill only containing sugar. Since the pill containing sugar does not contain medicine, this pill has no medical effect. When using placebo, the scientists looks for indifferences between the groups to see if the new study drug worked or not.

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