|May 2009 · Vol. 21, No. 05
Words to the wise: 4 secrets
of successful pharmacotherapy
Put these all to good use: the placebo effect, conditioned responses, the power of suggestion, and participatory pharmacotherapy
The placebo effect can occur as soon as a patient starts a medication
In practice, most clinicians give unintentional suggestions by how and what they communicate to the patient
Dr. Torem is Chief of Integrative Medicine at Akron General Medical Center, Akron, Ohio. He is Medical Director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, Ohio.
The author reports no financial relationships relevant to this article.
The therapeutic success of any medication depends on the interaction between its specific biochemical effects and nonspecific factors.1 Therefore, clinical trial designers may view the placebo effect as undesirable, but it can be a valuable response that improves outcomes in medical practice. As Freud stated: “Expectation colored by hope and faith is an effective force with which we have to reckon…in all our attempts at treatment and cure.”2