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Half of American Doctors Prescribing Placebos

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posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 07:55 PM
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www.foxnews.com...

This is an interesting find. I've always been interested in the ability to heal ourselves with the power of our minds, this makes me wonder, if the doctors are giving placebos to patients without the patient knowing - how many cases are out there where this has proven effective? How many of us possess that innate ability to cure ourselves of an illness just by the power of will alone?

Interesting read though. What are your thoughts?




posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:04 PM
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My thought is if i pay a doctor for medicines to cure a bout with pneumonia or some other ailment and i am given funky stuff, i would sue that doctor immediatly.

I would know if the medicine was bogus.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:19 PM
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While it is iof course unethical of the doctors to betray their patient's trust, this goes to show that the placebo effect--better called mind over matter--is a powerful and real effect, wholly missing in modern medicine.

This IMO, aside from corruption on the part of druc compaties, is why Western medicine is not as sucessful as it could be, compared to something like Chinese or Ayurderdic medicine.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:20 PM
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I was 90% sure it is against the law to hand out placebos without it being a study...

I could be wrong but????

[edit on 10/23/2008 by KATSUO]



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by KATSUO
I was 90% sure it is against the law to hand out placebos without it being a study...


Apparently they are not talking about actual "fake drugs" but instead prescribing drugs that may not cure the "problem" but may offer relief to the patient (becuase there is no cure for the problem).

Sheesh if someone is dying of cancer and on 15 different meds, I don't see the harm of doctors adding a special "sugar pill" that they believe could provide major relief of symptoms.


Placebos were defined in the study as treatments whose benefits derived from patients' beliefs they would work, not from the actual drug itself. They included painkillers, vitamins, antibiotics, sedatives and sugar pills.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:31 PM
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Very interesting read, and very disturbing to me if it's true.

The placebo effect is actually well documented. It's one of the reasons for double-blind studies. It's really fascinating stuff, and I can see why it would be tempting to a doctor with a difficult patient to hand over a pill and say it might help, even though it's no more likely to help than a glass of water.

But for a lot of reasons I think it's more important that our doctors be completely up-front about what they're prescribing.

This study seems to have combined a number of different pactices and labelled them all "prescribing a placebo," which makes me wary of it. Or at least of Fox's spin on it, I should look at the actual study before judging. But it says:


Other situations where placebos were used included doctors giving vitamins to patients with difficult conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, or giving antibiotics to patients with bronchitis to make them feel better.


I'm not sure I would necessarily count prescribing vitamins for chronic fatigue syndrome as a placebo. It would really depend on the case, and whether the doctor had ruled out vitamin deficiency but prescribed them anyway, or lied about what they were, and so on.

And prescribing antibiotics for bronchitis that you know is not bacterial is, to my mind, reprehensible beyond prescribing sugar pills or vitamins. Inappropriate prescription of antibiotics is a major contributing factor in the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria. I'm sure there are people who fuss at leaving the doctor's office without a prescription in hand, but I really think that doctors have to be held responsible for saying no when no is the best answer.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 08:35 PM
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I will be straight forward with you - I think half of what Fox news puts out is crap.

I used to love reading the news there, but now it is all bunches of hogwash. There isn't one piece of news there I'd put my full confidence in.

Now you're probably going to ask why'd I post this one then - it's mainly to generate discussion.

I read what you said about the vitamins. If the doctor prescribes the vitamin to the patient for their illness and doesn't tell them "I'm prescribed a vitamin - and instead says - Here's some Rolothalamine 9X" - lol - how does the patient REALLY know, you know? Of course they can go look it up, but isn't this the same as a placebo in a certain light?



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:02 PM
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Originally posted by mf_luder
I will be straight forward with you - I think half of what Fox news puts out is crap.



Half of what CNN, CBS, ABC is also crap.
Most of what MSNBC puts out is pure crap.
The newspapers are piles of Partisan crap.
Most Blogs are crap.
ATS has more than its share of crap.
AM Radio has multitudes of crap.
Politicians are composed of a special kind of concentrated crap.

Just means we have to dig through a lot of crap to get facts. I wear my mental hip-waders and dive in. Crap washes off.

If not for crap, we would have nothing to talk about. Is that what you are really saying?



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:04 PM
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Amen, brother.

What is fact but how one witness conveys it to another?



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:12 PM
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I can almost 90%
assure you that this is false.

Doctors are offered way too much compensation by pham. companies to be issuing placebos. Dont get me wrong- I think the mind is a powerful element and I think placebo therapy is great, but it is mainly used in studies in which a company compares the effects of patients who 'unknowingly' took the placebo insted of the 'experimental drug' being offered. It's stricly for scientific purposes anyways.

AND let me be clear- If I ever replaced a patients pain med. with a placebo- you bedtter believe that that patient would be knocking of the door in a matter of minutes. It just doesn't work.

In initial treatment, maybe. In substitution purposes- not a chance! Sory, but the kick backs (although this is purely speculative) are way too high for the doc. to prescribe anything but the name brand med.- In fact, even generics are highly discouraged.
Trust me, I se this whole thing from the inside out. It's a bunch of bull. No offense!



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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None taken! It's not my original article - lol.

But this is good - so are you a medical professional? In your experience, placebos have never worked as a substitute?



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:24 PM
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reply to post by mf_luder
 


I didn't mean to imply that I thought it was a bad story to put on ATS – actually I gave you a flag for it


I just was reminding myself and other readers that this is a MSM story about a medical study, to be taken with a grain of salt. I once read two reports about a medical study, and the spin was so bad that they literally came to opposite conclusions with the same data, neither of which was supported in the study itself or by the researchers.

Honestly, I think if a doctor "prescribes" a vitamin, using its scientific name, and describes why he's doing so accurately but without actually saying "it's just Vitamin B6" or whatever, that's ethical.

So, if someone comes in complaining of chronic fatigue, and the doctor runs the standard tests and everything comes back normal (i.e. no known cause for the fatigue can be found), and he hands over a prescription for a vitamin supplement and says "this may help boost your energy, it's such-and-such (chemical name for the vitamin)" I'd be okay with it.

That's me personally. I don't know what the AMA's position on that would be.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:29 PM
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Never as a substitute- but possibly as a first time deal. Its like the old saying goes about the woman who took 'Prin' and though it was her new miracle drug. In fact, it was aspirin with the first two letters scratched off.

Im a M.A., and I cannot see the doc. let alone the patients being duped into taking some non- reactive med. A. It makes no sense because the patients will think he is a quack because their symptoms have not gone away. B. Because we are wine/dined/ you name it by pharm. reps. all the time. Why wouldn't he promote the med that they have been bragging and 'scientifically proven' to him over and over again?

There is no money in it for him and no money spent by patients, therefore, the point is mute.

I am also a psychology specialist and I do know the powerful strength of the mind. If many psychiatric patients were given a placebo in replace of something else and convinced of its miraculous effects- I think the patients would buy it. Simply because, with psychiatric patients, their seritonin increases simply by leaving their house and arriving at the doctors (because depression, etc. usually keeps them caged up), and this significant finding is enough to suggest that they would be a prime group of people to try the 'placebo' drug on. Yet, it's not practical.

Doctors love money! Why do you think they became doctors (Im generalizing of course), but there is no money for them in handing out a worthless pill.

Thats just my take. I've yet to see it happen and if I do, I will be the first one to report it to you, but my logic leads me to believe I'll never see the day. Unfortunately...



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 09:31 PM
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reply to post by americandingbat
 

Agreed! There are way too many violations that the doctor would be breaking if he purposely lied to a patient into believing this certain drug was something big- when in fact it was a placebo!



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 10:08 PM
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Just a housekeeping-type thing: there's a thread on the same survey in the Medical Issues Forum, using a different source.

Here's the ATS thread: www.abovetopsecret.com...

And here's the other source: www.freep.com...

nowayreally I think there was a misunderstanding. I said that I thought it would be okay to recommend a vitamin and just tell them its chemical name. Not to say it was a breakthrough treatment, though. But just to give them, say, ascorbic acid. And not tell them it's Vitamin C. I'd be okay with that, because they could either ask the doctor what it does, or look up ascorbic acid and find out.

What I have a problem with is giving a sugar pill and telling someone it's medicine, or prescribing a potentially harmful medication like an antibiotic or painkiller for a condition that doesn't warrant it.

OT, but I actually think very few doctors become doctors for the money (leaving aside elective cosmetic surgeons and a few other specialties). The training is brutal, leaves you way deep in the hole (average $100,000 student loans last I heard), and the pay, while excellent, is no better than a lot of other careers that are a whole lot easier.

I think many people (I'm a "non-traditional" i.e. old biochem student in a mostly premed program, so I know a lot of future doctors) want to be doctors because it seems like a lot of power. A lot of others want the prestige. But most just want to make people better.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 11:27 PM
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reply to post by asmeone2
 


IMO, the "Placebo Effect" is the universal force that we can all tap in
to if we truly believe in its existance. Christian churches call it devine
healing, but whatever the terminology, it's available to all. It's just too
bad that fake pills need to be used to activate the healing agents.



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by nowayreally
 


Well, thanks for your input - and like you, I'm also waiting for the day when I actually meet someone this worked on. You always hear about it but never see it.
Oh well, I guess we can all have dreams...



posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 12:07 AM
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Originally posted by nowayreally
Never as a substitute- but possibly as a first time deal. Its like the old saying goes about the woman who took 'Prin' and though it was her new miracle drug. In fact, it was aspirin with the first two letters scratched off.

Im a M.A., and I cannot see the doc. let alone the patients being duped into taking some non- reactive med. A. It makes no sense because the patients will think he is a quack because their symptoms have not gone away. B. Because we are wine/dined/ you name it by pharm. reps. all the time. Why wouldn't he promote the med that they have been bragging and 'scientifically proven' to him over and over again?

There is no money in it for him and no money spent by patients, therefore, the point is mute.

I am also a psychology specialist and I do know the powerful strength of the mind. If many psychiatric patients were given a placebo in replace of something else and convinced of its miraculous effects- I think the patients would buy it. Simply because, with psychiatric patients, their seritonin increases simply by leaving their house and arriving at the doctors (because depression, etc. usually keeps them caged up), and this significant finding is enough to suggest that they would be a prime group of people to try the 'placebo' drug on. Yet, it's not practical.

Doctors love money! Why do you think they became doctors (Im generalizing of course), but there is no money for them in handing out a worthless pill.

Thats just my take. I've yet to see it happen and if I do, I will be the first one to report it to you, but my logic leads me to believe I'll never see the day. Unfortunately...


I have a Masters in Nursing and I do agree with a piece of your post. However, I take great issue with this:

" Simply because, with psychiatric patients, their seritonin increases simply by leaving their house and arriving at the doctors (because depression, etc. usually keeps them caged up), and this significant finding is enough to suggest that they would be a prime group of people to try the 'placebo' drug on. Yet, it's not practical."


Do you realize what you are saying? Why would they be a prime group of people? What kind of psychology specialist did you say you were?
There are several things wrong with your statement.For many cases of mental illness drug compliance is vital not only for emotional state but sometimes life itself. Are you advocating that for example, a bipolar patient not be given his mood stabilizer as a test? Or a schizophrenic not be given his anti-psychotic so we can see if he benefits from a sugar pill?
To risk the potential of someone harming themselves or someone else all
for the sake of a blind study! Or maybe you were implying it wouldn't matter because they wouldn't know what was going on anyway after all, they are "crazy." Probably one of the most unethical things I've ever heard in the field of medicine.

Do your self and your patients a favor, consider another line of work. I'm not trying to be harsh but you will serve no one if you stay in this field. Most Dr.s I've worked with over 16yrs. are not in it for the money. With malpractice suits, the rising cost of health insurance, there is not a whole lot to be made. They do it because they CARE!!! Believe it or not some have a great desire to help. And they have real passion about what they will spend their life doing. Try and find something you feel passionate about!!





[edit on 24-10-2008 by paxnatus]



posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 12:03 PM
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reply to post by paxnatus
 


you are completely right! I re-read that part of my post and didn't intend to imply what I wrote. Psychiatric patients above all should be the last to have a placebo!! My bad!!

What I was trying to do was tie in the association between 'placebo effect', in so far as medication with the 'mental' effect, in so far as the well documented cases of depression related studies illustrating the increase in seritonin simply via leaving your home to go to the doctors (for example).

And, yes I have been stressing the money end of this scenario greatly. This could simply be the cynicism I have at this point while working for/with and around much 'older' doctors who do behave according to the money, as well as witnessing the pharmaceutical end of things. I myself make absolutely nothing really, yet I love the patients so much that it doesn't matter- Helping them makes me happy. And, I plan on being a doctor someday as well, and know that 'the money' nor 'the power' or 'prestige' is the reason behind my drive. Helping the people and caring for the patients is my main goal.

Thank you paxnatus for bring my attention to that.



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