Placebos could have real benefits

Doctors should consider the potential benefit of using placebos to help manage chronic pain in older people, according to an Australian review.

Lead author Dr Steven Savvas, a researcher at the National Ageing Research Institute in Melbourne, says the increasing likelihood of older patients having adverse drug reactions in response to medication makes placebos an attractive option.

But that’s because placebos and chronic pain models have strong biopsychosocial components that affect a patient’s experience, he says.

“A biopsychosocial framework is seen to have some value in chronic