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Published:October 24th, 2008 22:59 EST
Did Your Doctor Prescribe A Placebo?

Did Your Doctor Prescribe A Placebo?

By Robert Paul Reyes

"If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics for the flu or told you to try B12 vitamins for fatigue, those treatments were probably just a placebo-an unproven therapy offered with the hope you would feel better if you took something.

Treatment with placebos is far more common than you might think, according to a new national survey in which 46 percent to 58 percent of U.S. physicians admitted using placebos regularly. Only 5 percent said they tell patients explicitly that they are doing so."

ChicagoTribune.Com/Judith Graham

I take two prescription drugs for my high blood pressure, and now I`m wondering if I`m paying hundreds of dollars a year for sugar pills that are worth pennies. This Chicago Tribune article has made my blood pressure soar, and I`m all out of medication, or are they just a placebo?

It may be legal, but it`s unethical for a physician to prescribe placebos for his patient`s without their knowledge. If I find out that my quack gave me a prescription for a placebo, I will immediately start looking for another doctor.

Pharmacists are also complicit in this fraud/medical malpractice, they should refuse to fill prescriptions for placebos.

If I take my Jeep to my mechanic because I feel it`s "running sluggish", but he can`t find anything wrong with it, he should return my car and bill me only for labor. But if he decides to add a "placebo thingamajig" that does nothing to improve performance and charges me $500, that would be a crime. In my mind that`s the same type of crime that physicians are guilty of when they prescribe placebos.

The relationship between a doctor and his patient is sacred, we are placing our health, and indeed our lives, in their hands. Physicians shouldn`t compromise that relationship by prescribing placebos.