>> Sunday, October 26, 2008
about half of american doctors surveyed recently said that they regularly give their patients placebos.
wiki on placebos here.
"Half the doctors reported using placebos several times a month, nearly 70 percent of those described the treatment to their patients as "a potentially beneficial medicine not typically used for your condition." Only 5 percent of doctors explicitly called it a placebo treatment.
Most doctors used actual medicines as a placebo treatment: 41 percent used painkillers, 38 percent used vitamins, 13 percent used antibiotics, 13 percent used sedatives, 3 percent used saline injections, and 2 percent used sugar pills.
In the survey, doctors were asked if they would recommend a sugar pill for patients with chronic pain if it had been shown to be more effective than no treatment. Nearly 60 percent said they would."
i have mixed feelings about this. sometimes the patient is wrong, foolish or suggestable. in those cases the placebos may be the best thing. if you are trying to help, honesty can sometimes be a barrier. but n the other hand, i think the disconnect between doctors and their patients, and the general disregard for a patient's agency that i see in american medical practice leads me to believe the practice is surely abused.