Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Disturbing find': Half of US doctors prescribe placebos

Half of doctors in the US are prescribing placebos to patients that they can not otherwise help, according to a US National Institute of Health study (reported by MSNBC).

One health ethicist called the findings "disturbing."

Not only are doctors prescribing sugar pills when patients in agonizing pain ask for help, though no pill can help them. They're also prescribing antibiotics for ailments like viral bronchitis, according to MSNBC. The problem is, antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.

Prescribing placebos at this level can undermine patient trust in doctors and, when it comes to recklessly prescribing antibiotics, "promote the development of drug-resistant strains of bacteria." Check out NBC Nightly News coverage of this story…



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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.