PTU - Polskie Towarzystwo Urologiczne
list of articles:

Placebo and nocebo effects - causes and nature
Article published in Urologia Polska 2004/57/2.


Jakub Dobruch 1, Andrzej Borówka 1, Artur A. Antoniewicz 1, Piotr Chłosta 2
1 Klinika Urologii Centrum Medycznego Kształcenia Podyplomowego, I Zespół Dydaktyki Urologicznej - Oddział Urologii Centralnego Szpitala Kolejowego w Warszawie
Kierownik kliniki i ordynator oddziału: prof. dr hab. Andrzej Borówka
2 Dział Urologii Świętokrzyskiego Centrum Onkologii w Kielcach
Kierownik działu: dr n. med. Stefan Olszewski


placebo effect, nocebo effect, clinical trials, randomization


The term placebo is well known in medicine. It is defined as a pharmacologically inactive substance, delusively similar to active drug with which it is compared in clinical trials. To assess the clinical utility of new, examined drug, randomized placebo controlled trials are performed. Its beneficial effects over placebo are crucial for its future therapeutic use. Patients taking placebo experience some positive and negative effects expressed by diminished ailment intensity (placebo effect) and occurrence of adverse effects (nocebo effect) observed also in patients taking an active drug. Usage of an inactive substance activates psychical and psychophysical mechanisms which influence patients comfort and well-being. It is supposed that these mechanisms are responsible for observed placebo and nocebo effects.
In the article, causes and nature of both effects are described.