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Guest Jude the Grouch

50% of Doctors Prescribe Placebos

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This is an interesting article. Will and does insurance companies pay for this medication which will not be truly effective or are they in the dark too? Anybody know?



A happy heart is good medicine.

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Hi Judy,


I was wondering the same thing myself, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Plus, the article said doctors were even giving out (real) antibiotics as placebos -- and they can have all sorts of side effects; not to mention, complications. Or, worse yet, very high doses of NSAIDS -- which can cause fatal gastrointestinal bleeding, among many other things.


And with the high co-pays and out of pocket expenses many of us have, I also wonder if some of the "placebos" are hurting pocketbooks, perhaps even insurance companies.


To me, this practice simply erodes trust between patients and physicians. It may also mislead us into thinking the doctor is taking our symptoms seriously, when in fact, we are being dissed, medically speaking, and perhaps even further compromising our health.


I don't like this, not one bit.


And as patients, we should always bear in mind that honest non-treatment is better than being given a prescription simply because we demand a fix. I do know there are people who are happy with nothing less than a pill for any symptom (as if that legitimizes the symptom) rather than let time heal it or make necessary lifestyle changes.


But still, the doctor should be addressing the issue head on -- such as, I'm sorry you have x-y-z symptom, but there's no pill that is proven to help it. However, you may find some relief by doing x-y-z, and if it gets worse, by all means, let me know, as this might be in the initial stages now.


My doctors all know I kick and scream before taking any pill, these past few years. I press them hard, very hard, for anything else I can do, other than pop a pill, and then I listen carefully and follow their advice. This has gotten me off of over a dozen medications, and saved me hundreds of dollars a month.


But it's not easy to be so insistent, because their first, knee-jerk reaction, is to just write a prescription. After all, it's fast, it's easy, it's no dent in *their* pocketbook, and it gets us out of the office...whether we need the pill or not <sigh>.


There are just so many unavoidable medications and treatments with scleroderma, that I can't bear the idea of any of us taking unnecessary or even possibly hazardous "placebos" on top of it all.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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100% of 50% of doctors who prescribe placebos think their patients are morons.


100% of 50% of patients prescribed placebos know their doctors are morons.



Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Shelly and Amanda,


It is awful to hear and read about and experience some of what is discussed in this article. In the 70's it was pretty much that way even in hospitals and nursing homes. People were given placebo's for pain and or sleep by pill or shots per doctor's orders. Then it became unlawful and unethical to do such things without a persons knowledge. It is so disheartening to hear it still happens in the general public and it is 2008. It means the heart is still missing in the medical field especially with Doctors. Just because they think it is for the good of the patient they still rule and a sick person in that instance doesn't have a say in how they are treated.


We all, I believe at one time or another have been treated disrespectfully and sometimes dismissed by a Doctor whether to passify or ignore a problem. It sounds like we blame all Doctors but occasionally we find that Doctor that takes the time to listen and validate what is happening and even explains why and then treats it. It might be as you said Shelly to change a life style or diet; sometimes medications are the best line of defense.


For us with autoimmune diseases are still low on the list for appropriate care and preventive treatments simply because many symptoms are ignored by the medical field. It is also predominantly a female vs male issue, meaning more woman have these problems. It has only been in the past maybe 10 years we have been given the option to fight these diseases and given medications that may keep the disease at bay or at least under some control. If Doctors carry this attitude with us or anyone it is no wonder people die prematurely.


Those that write medical laws and ethics apparently can not etch upon anyones heart a conscience.


With gentle thoughts.



A happy heart is good medicine.

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