Are Impure Placebos Responsible for The Latest Superbugs?

Are Impure Placebos Responsible for The Latest Superbugs?

Do patients put pressure on their physicians to have all the answers, to prescribe a quick fix to their problems? Apparently, this happens more often than we may think. When a patient enters a doctors office they are looking for answers. If the first or even second answer does not seem sufficient to the patient, or the doctor is perhaps unsure of the diagnosis, tests are administered and antibiotics are prescribed, even when not necessary. This practice sometimes happens in an effort to appease patients, according to a new study. Overzealous testing and antibiotic use bears significant health and economic consequences.

A survey conducted in the United Kingdom reports widespread use of “impure” placebos and a lower incidence of the use of “pure” placebos. In fact, 97 percent of physicians noted the use of “impure” placebo treatments while just over 10 percent stated they had at some point used “pure” placebos. “Impure” placebos include the use of antibiotics or non-essential blood tests. “Pure” placebos have no active components and include sugar pills or saline injections.

Doctors who commented on the survey results indicated that they truly believe the use of placebos is useful in patient treatment. The survey noted that the reason for administering both pure and impure placebos was to make patients “feel” better about their health. Over 84 percent felt that the use of “impure” placebos was an ethical and helpful practice while 33 percent said that the use of any kind of placebo is never acceptable. It should be noted that 90 percent of doctors objected to using placebos if it interfered with patient/doctor confidentiality and 80 per cent were against using them deceptively.

The Rise of  Superbugs

So, what impact does physicians prescribing antibiotics that are unnecessary have on the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs? The overuse of antibiotics is directly linked to the prevalence of superbugs. Clearly more effort should be made to use antibiotics only when entirely necessary. If this means doctors taking a little more time to conduct appropriate tests for signs of infection and patients understanding that a pill is not always the answer, then so be it. The consequences of avoiding either of these two Are Impure Placebos Responsible for The Latest Superbugs?things is devastating.

Pill Poppers

Why do we feel the need to pop a pill whenever our body sends us a signal that it is out of balance? Why the need for a quick fix that is not genuinely a quick fix in many instances? Do we have too little time for our health? Would changing our mindset regarding health help us to feel better? It carries far fewer risks, this is for sure. Perhaps what is actually needed is a change of attitude, a shift towards prevention and a greater desire to achieve optimal health.

Previous research conducted at Southampton University shows that the use of placebos over the long term are effective in many instances. Over time, placebos work by releasing the body’s own natural painkillers. This seems like a viable approach when “pure” placebos are concerned; however, the use of “impure” placebos remains a much greater concern due to inflating health care costs and superbug invasion.

-The Alternative Daily


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