14. What is a “placebo”?


A placebo is a treatment that does not contain any medicine but may still look like a medicine; it could be a capsule filled with water.


Placebos are used because sometimes people may begin to feel more positive and feel better if they are getting a medicine. Doctors need to know if they are feeling better because the medicine is working or if it has something to do with feeling more positive in general.



By comparing children and teenagers who used the placebo and those who used the medicine, we can tell whether any difference seen in the patient is because of the medicine, and not just because of the patient thinking that they are getting a medicine.