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Doctor, Doctor, Gimme The News, I've Got A Bad Case Of Not Being Treated By You

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 4, 2008 10:22PM

2008_1_4.pills.jpgLaughter, the best medicine. As in, your doctor is laughing at you and giving you fake medicine just to get you to shut up. The U of C surveyed internists from U of C, Northwestern and University of Illinois at Chicago, and of the 233 doctors who responded, 48 percent said they'd given patients placebos, including "vitamins, herbal supplements, saline infusions, dummy pills and doses of medicine too low to be effective. One of the most common placebo treatments was giving antibiotics for viral infections that don't respond to antibiotics." Er, isn't that an awful idea? Taking antibiotics you don't need can make those antibodies ineffective when you do need them.

This may be obvious, but giving patients placebos and not telling them is against the AMA's rules. Also ethically unsound. Why are nearly half the doctors doing this? According to another study,

Doctors said placebos can calm a patient; supplement other treatments; satisfy a patient's unjustified demand for medication; control pain, etc. A few doctors said they give placebos just to get the patient to stop complaining.

Those...don't sound like terrific reasons.

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