The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, shoows that A patient’s belief that a certain drug will not work can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
According to researchers in test where legs of 22 patientsheat were exposed to the heat , and subjects were asked to report the level of pain on a scale of one to 100. at the same time they were attached to an intravenous drip so drugs could be managed secretly.
The starting average pain number to rate a pain was 66. Subjects were then given a strong painkiller, remifentanil, without telling them and the pain score went down to 55.
Then they were informed they were being given a strong painkiller and the pain went down to 39.
Then, without any changes in dose, the patients were informed the painkiller had been withdrawn and to expect pain, and the numbers were up to 64.
So even though they were being given remifentanil, they were getting the same level of pain as when they were getting no drugs at all.
Professor Irene Tracey, from Oxford University, said “that the brain’s influence can easily increase its effect, or completely remove it.”
Scientes also said that the study brings concerns about clinical trials used to determine the effectiveness of drugs.