Mar 28 2013

Do 97% of UK Doctors Prescribe Placebos?

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5 Responses to “Do 97% of UK Doctors Prescribe Placebos?”

  1. SARAon 28 Mar 2013 at 9:59 am

    If you low dose a patient and get a response, how do you know it’s not a placebo effect?

    When the placebo wears off and the real medical problem recurs, do you up the dosage or change it or wonder if your diagnosis is wrong?

  2. Steven Novellaon 28 Mar 2013 at 10:30 am

    With individual patients it’s very hard to know if they are really responding to any treatment (therapeutic dose range or not), or just getting a placebo effect, or the illness would have improved on its own anyway. There’s no blinding or control and you can’t do statistics on individual patients. You are applying group or population data probablistically to individuals.

    I can’t really answer the second question (at least not in a comment) – there are way too many variables that need to be considered. Suffice to say, lack of response to treatment does provoke a rethinking of the approach.

  3. locutusbrgon 28 Mar 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I have often found that PLOS one publishes marginal research.

    Kind of a loaded dice here. Who really practices utilizing none of these techniques. The only thing that surprises me is the 3% who responded negatively. I suspect that they just did not take the time to read and understand that the “impure placebo’s” should be included.

    If you have ever prescribed or recommended any old medication you are probably recommending “Conventional medicine whose effectiveness is not evidence-based”.
    I can not honestly say that I have never given an antibiotic just to CMA over a infection that I believed was probably viral. No placebo intent just concerned about liability and uncertainty.

    I have often given equivocal or evasive answers about scam treatment because the patient is new to me and I am trying to develop a relationship before blunting pseudoscience. Does that count?

    If you really think about the variety of “impure placebo’s” they are just to broad enough to be inclusive to all professionals. Plus just vague enough to appear exclusionary to lay people who do not understand that treating humans means acknowledging the inherent problems of the human brain.

  4. Dianeon 30 Mar 2013 at 11:00 pm

    My lab actually studies antibiotic interactions, and some of my coworkers have shown that sometimes a combination of antibiotics, each at a subclinical dose, can together be effective. So I am a bit surprised that the authors listed prescribing subclinical doses, in and of itself, as a placebo.

    By the way, PLOS One has only minimal peer review. They are quite explicit about it. They review papers only for technical accuracy, not for the quality of the research. Consequently, you must take PLOS One papers with a grain of salt.

  5. dangerismymiddlename.comon 01 Apr 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I suspect that this is common in the US too: prescribing an antibiotic for a virus is probably the biggest example.

    I am told that the physicians that do this, do it when their patients demand it. I wonder how accurate the 97% is, and I wonder to what extent the UK physicians are doing this when a patient demands it.

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