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Despite all the new drugs available on the market, studies report that one of the most effective drugs of all time is no drugs. A placebo is a fake drug, such as a sugar pill, that has no effect on the patient other than to make them believe they are taking real medicine. A placebo is given to a patient to test results as compared to subjects getting real drugs. In one study in Hennepin County Medical Center, a new drug (VEGF) was being tested that was suppose to relieve chest pain. In this study, patients were rated by how long they could walk on a treadmill before suffering from chest pain.
The results showed that those who got low doses of the new drug could walk on the treadmill 26 seconds longer than before. Subjects who got high doses did even better walking an additional 32 seconds before having pain. But even with these results the study was a complete failure. It seems the subjects who got the placebo were able to walk an average of 43 seconds longer than before.