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September 2022

Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1986 Jan; 116(1): 27-8.

[Armand Trousseau (1801-1867) and the placebo effect]

Reubi FC.

In 1834 Armand Trousseau (1801-1867) used a placebo, consisting of pills containing only starch, to show that these pills were as effective as homeopathic dilutions. On another occasion he claimed to have produced marked diuresis in patients with edema by cutaneous application of digitalis and scilla solutions; in fact the diuresis resulted from prior high-dose oral digitalis therapy. Complete ignorance of pharmacokinetics at that time was largely responsible for his error.


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