Clinical trials use pills without active ingredients. For ethical reasons I have chosen not to use real pills or medication, so instead a placebo will be utilised for each experiment.
What is placebo
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a placebo is;
medicine : a pill or substance that is given to a patient like a drug but that has no physical effect on the patient
Anatomy of a pill
- Pill packets tend to be small and can fit in the palm of a hand
- They are packaged in a blister pack with one pill per pocket
- Each prescription contains exactly the number of pills required for the treatment
- They will be accompanied by a leaflet describing how they should be taken
- Some are labelled with days
Placebo selection process
I initially wanted to make the experience of taking my placebo as comparable as possible to taking real medication. I investigated trying to get sweets that looked like pills, but decided to err on the side of caution because this could cause the participants to be wary of what the pill contained.
Sweet selection criteria
- Small sweet that can be conveniently carried by the participants throughout the experiment, similar to how they would carry prescription medication
- Familiar sweet that participants will have heard of to reduce the chance of anxiety to participants about what they were taking.
- A sturdy container that is convenient to carry, reducing the chance of accidental spillage or loss of pills
- A container that can be closed/resealed between use
- Not overly flavoursome (e.g. bitter or sour) as most real pills are tasteless
Bearing all of this in mind the sweet I have selected to use is Tic-Tacs.