Does the placebo effect really work?

On call

Q. I just began taking a new drug. My doctor said I probably wouldn’t feel any improvement for several weeks, but I felt better the next day. Is that a placebo effect?

A. The response by any person to a new drug or treatment is so variable, it’s almost impossible to know for certain whether your drug had some immediate effect or if it was a placebo response (improvement in symptoms from the act of taking a drug independent of its biological effects).

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