Doctors are already warming up to the potential of placebos. A study for the German Medical Association (BÄK) finds that fully half of all German doctors prescribe placebos, and for good reason:
The report recommends that students and doctors should be taught about placebos and their usage.The report also warns about ethical issues, and recommends that placebos only be prescribed for minor illnesses. But what about seriously ill patients for which no proven treatments exist? This is a thornier issue, and the BÄK has called for internationally recognized guidelines for the use of placebos.
"Placebos can maximise the effect of medication," says Robert Jütte, author of the study and a BÄK board member.
"They can reduce undesirable side-effects and are a more efficient usage of our healthcare budget."
Recent research, he said, showed that placebos had helped 59% of patients who had been suffering from an upset stomach. Used to treat depression, placebos have the same effect as antidepressants in about a third of cases. (more)
HT: Tyler Cowen