Placebo effect in multiple sclerosis

When a medication or treatment seems to work for some people but has not been scientifically proven to be any more effective than a "sugar pill," or placebo, it may be said to have a placebo effect.

The placebo effect may be the result of "feel good" hormones called endorphins that are released by the brain in response to treatment. It may be part of your brain's attempt to heal your body. The placebo effect does not mean that your symptoms are all in your head, but it does suggest that there is a strong connection between your mind and your body.

Although not proven effective, a therapy may work because you believe it will work and expect it to work. It is also possible that the treatment works for a reason that experts have not yet been able to figure out.

Finally, keep in mind that when you get better after treatment, the treatment is not always the reason for the improvement. Symptoms sometimes improve on their own, especially in a disease like multiple sclerosis.

Last Updated: February 18, 2010

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