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placebo prescription

take two of these and call me in the morning...
  [vote for,

Using the doctor's name, the name of the drug and the patient a computer network tells the pharmacist (when he fills the order) to replace your drug with a placebo. This could be helpful for people who are considering taking SSRIs but the doctor isn't certain it's really needed. "We have this special low-dose pill that many people say helps, try it for a week and get back to me." If the placebo doesn't work then the real drug can be used. Might be a good idea for other mild conditions (or for conditions for which no drug exists) --if the mind can be tricked in to healing through the power of medicine, why not use it even beyond clinical studies.
futurebird, Feb 14 2003

Prescribing Placebos http://www.acsh.org...04/placebonomk.html
Unethical [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Prescribing Placebos http://www.acsh.org...4/placeboyeskl.html
Ethical [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Murphy's Lawyers http://www.halfbake...urphy_27s_20Lawyers
If your placebo works, expect a lawsuit from these guys. [beauxeault, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Widely known to exist.
snarfyguy, Feb 14 2003

       Not sure you'd want to tell people it was low dose though, I'd have thought, if you are resigned to lying anyway you might as well say; "almost everybody gets better on these pills I'm perscribing you now, so I won't expect to see you again, in the unlikly event of this treatment not working perfectly and quickly, then come back and we'll try something different"
Zircon, Feb 14 2003

       As noted by snarfy, doctors do prescribe sugar pills. However, as noted in the links, doctors do not agree on whether this is ehtical.
DrCurry, Feb 14 2003

       Not sure that reassurance counts as mind trickery. How would you classify a doctor who prays with his/her (spiritually minded) patient?
DrCurry, Feb 14 2003

       Isn't this just involuntary homeopathic medication?
PeterSilly, Feb 14 2003

       In the event that the placebo doesn't work, and said patient meets with some horrible consequence, it seems to me that the prescribing doctor has left himself open to a huge malpractice suit. How would this be addressed?
X2Entendre, Feb 14 2003

       PS, it's far from homeopathic. A homeopathic "drug" would have some usually very dangerous substance diluted to the point that it's statistically impossible that any of it actually exists in the dose. In the placebo, this nonexistent agent is never intentionally introduced at all. It's a big difference. </sarcasm>
beauxeault, Feb 14 2003

       Ah, thanks BX. I understand now, I think...
PeterSilly, Feb 14 2003

       X2Entendre, this would only be used for non-leathal, mild conditions, or conditions that are persistant (such as joint pain) where the real medications may give pain relief, but also can cause harm. I think SSRIs are overprescribed, this could reduce that.
futurebird, Feb 14 2003

       Given the statistics on, say, placebo knee operations (the placebo operations being significantly more beneficial than the real operations in question), I think you can easily make a case for giving a placebo as being a valid course of treatment.
DrCurry, Feb 14 2003

       Wouldn't effective placebos be a violation of Murphy's Law? (link)
beauxeault, Feb 14 2003


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