Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 10, No. 2, 2003
Issue release date: April 2003
Forsch Komplementärmed Klass Naturheilkd 2003;10:61–68
Focus: Health · Original Article

The Placebo Effect on Mood and Behavior: Possible Role of Opioid and Dopamine Modulation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal System

Sher L.
Division of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, USA


There has been an increasing interest in the placebo effect over the past several decades. The relationship between the placebo effect and the underlying mechanisms of the body that control and maintain health is still not well understood. Significant evidence suggests that endogenous opioids and dopamine are involved in the mechanisms of the placebo effect. The endogenous opioid and dopaminergic systems have been demonstrated to exert effects on the functional activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA system contributes to regulation of mood and behavior. The author suggests that opioid and dopamine modulation of the HPA system is one of the neurobiological mechanisms of the placebo effect on mood and behavior. To elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms of placebo effects and to study the use of placebo in clinical practice to improve health are two important and interrelated tasks. Future studies of the neurobiology of the placebo response may yield interesting and important results.

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Forschende Komplementärmedizin und Klassische Naturheilkunde / Research in Complementary and Classical Natural Medicine
Offizielles Organ der Schweizerischen Medizinischen Gesellschaft für Phytotherapie, European Society for Classical Natural Medicine

Vol. 10, No. 2, Year 2003 (Cover Date: April 2003)

Journal Editor: M. Bühring, Berlin, Germany, K. Linde, München, Germany, W. Marktl, Wien, Austria, D. Melchart, München, Germany, K.M. Meyer-Abich, Essen, Germany, K.L. Resch, Bad Elster, Germany, R. Saller, Zürich, Switzerland, M. Ullmann, München, Germany, H. Walach, Freiburg i.Br., Germany
ISSN: 1424–7364 (print), 1424–7372 (Online)

For additional information:

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.