Dig it! According to a recent study, as reported on Fox News, sugar pills are more effective in the treatment of schizophrenia today than they were 10 years ago, Schizophrenia patients increasingly responding to placebos in trials.
Studies of schizophrenia drugs are increasingly finding lesser effects because more patients are responding to drug-free placebos used for comparison, according to a new United States government study.
I guess this is good news for placebo makers.
What’s more, recent clinical trials of second-generation antipsychotics — which emerged 20 years ago and now dominate the market — have been finding smaller treatment effects compared with trials from the early 1990s.
According to the article Food and Drug Administration researchers reviewed 32 clinical trials submitted to the agency between 1991 and 2008 to come up with their figures.
The researchers found North American trials done in more recent years turned up smaller treatment effects than older studies.
Dr. Thomas P. Laughren, one of the researchers, claimed that this was not because the drugs were any less effective, instead it was because patients given placebos started showing better responses. I guess this is proof positive that over the past 10 years placebos have been getting more powerful.
Another theory has it that the patients being treated today are less “sick”.
The patients responses on the drugs remained constant over time. Given the drug, there was a 13 point reduction of symptoms over a 4 to 8 week period. With the placebo this response changed over the years from 2 points between 1991 and 1998 to an average of 7 points between 1999 and 2008.
While the drugs showed a great statistical advantage over the placebo in the short term, it is our hope that these improved results could lead to more prolonged studies. If the clinical trials went on for quite a bit longer than 4 to 8 weeks, one school of thought has it that the placebo effect would eventually gain a distinct edge over the drug effect.
Any sporting person out there want to wager a bet over the outcome of this challenge? It is quite possible that the neuroleptic drug is a more of a sprinter beside the placebo which in the end could prove to be more of a marathon runner.