A placebo is a substitute for the treatment under study that is given to a patient in a research study. The person does not realize he or she is receiving a placebo instead of the real treatment. Placebos are often given to the control group participants in a clinical trial.
A clinical trial is a research study designed to test the effectiveness and safety of a medical innovation: a new medication, device, procedure or other treatment. Control group participants are people who will not receive the new treatment to act as a baseline to see if the new treatment is effective. A placebo can be an inactive pill, liquid or powder, or it can be a sham version of the real treatment.
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