Has Your Doctor Ever Fooled You
with Fake Medicines?

December 26th, 2012 by Holly Cornish

You go see your doctor and he writes you a prescription…

You fill it, pay for it, bill it to insurance, and take it as prescribed. Several months later, you realize the pills aren’t doing a thing for you.

So did your doctor misdiagnose you — or lie to you?

The truth is darker than you may imagine…

Continued below. . .

Hidden epidemic picking off
Baby Boomers in their prime

    Leg cramps that wake you up out of a sound sleep.

Fingers so cold you’re embarrassed to shake hands at church.

Unsightly circles under your eyes–no matter how much sleep you get.

Bruises that appear after the slightest bump…and take WEEKS to go away.

These aren’t just minor annoyances. They’re the first signs of the hidden epidemic picking off Baby Boomers like flies. So deadly, it claims another new victim every 30 seconds. And yet–most M.D.s are completely overlooking it.

Which is why it’s absolutely critical for you to watch this special presentation right now. It will tell you everything you need to know about this sweeping threat. Including the solution so stunningly simple, it puts modern medicine to shame. Please, don’t miss it.

If your doctor prescribed “Obecalp” or “Cebocap” to calm your headache, reduce your stomach upset, or relieve your pain… did it help?

Probably not.

Obecalp and Cebocap are placebos — a fancy name for a fake drug. Obecalp is “placebo” spelled backwards. “Cebocap” is a pill made from sugar.

Does your doctor pass this off as real medicine?

    This isn’t exactly new news, but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing.

An international survey reported that more than half of all doctors in the U.S. regularly prescribe placebos to their patients — without telling them, of course.

Ditto for doctors in England, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, and Denmark.

A study of all Chicago area primary care doctors saw 45% of them admit they prescribed placebos for their patients.

So, how do they manage to dismiss their patients with the brush of a hand and a fake med?

  • 34% introduce placebos to the patient as “a substance that may help and will not hurt” (technically, this is true; many people do experience relief from placebos)
  • 19% said, “It is medication.”
  • (Only) 9% called it a placebo.

One-third of doctors gave their patients other info such as, “This may help you but I am not sure how it works.”

Your doctor may even think you’re the fake

    Doctors admit to prescribing placebos to try to find out who’s faking their symptoms, or who’s a hypochondriac.

This is worse than ironic — you doctor lies to you to see if you’re lying.

The doctor might say something like, “This is a medicine not typically used for your condition but [that] might benefit you.” It sounds like an off-label use of a prescription drug, but it’s a placebo.

This is particularly common for pain med prescriptions. The chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia has had doctors baffled and flustered for years because many of them think it’s psychosomatic (i.e. it’s all in your head). So they prescribe dummy pills and send the patient off into the wild blue yonder.

Shockingly, a recent study in the British Medical Journal showed that nearly two-thirds of all doctors thought it was permissible to give fake medicine without telling you.

The website HealthDay quotes a Stanford psychiatrist as saying, “The basic rule is: First, do no harm. If there is no toxicity and it does some good, evidence supports its use… You can tell people that the treatment might benefit them.”

Your doctor’s hired accomplice

    Not surprisingly, your doctor could never pull this off without a willing accomplice. And they have just the partner they need — your pharmacy. And behind them, the major drug companies.

Can fake meds really be prescribed and purchased from your local pharmacy? You bet! CVS, Walgreens and others have them listed.

With half the doctors pushing fake meds and using pharmacies as their accomplices you have to wonder — has YOUR doctor done this to you?

This atmosphere of distrust between doctors and their patients exposes an insidious problem in Western medicine. Wouldn’t you rather your doctor told you he had to do a little more research and get back to you about an issue, instead of just telling you to pop a sugar pill?

Maybe we should ask our doctors about their thoughts on these issues…

  • How do they expect your health to improve with fake sugar pills?
  • Does absence of toxicity justify them lying to you?
  • If your doctor can’t diagnose your problem, does he default to thinking your symptoms are in your head?
  • What if you really are having a heart attack but get sent home with a fake prescription?
  • Are they liable for malpractice if they misdiagnose or fail to diagnose, and you die?

In my opinion, placebo prescriptions are a medical cop-out, and do nothing to help trust between doctors and patients.

True, sometimes they help a patient. But whether real or imagined, pain is pain, and ALL symptoms should be looked into… not just cast aside as inconsequential or all in the head.

But as I said…

Some placebos really help patients

    Even when no real medicine is consumed, some patients feel better. Their pain or symptoms do go away.

In carefully controlled studies with placebos as a control, certain patients progress just because they think they’re getting real medicine.

That’s why “the placebo effect” is now front and center in discussions on the mind-body connection popularized by Eastern medicine. Even many adherents of Western medicine are starting to embrace the mind-body connection for its therapeutic value.

I love one study we came across: Researchers gave runners tap water, claiming it was oxygenated. The runners with this “special” water ran faster and longer than their counterparts.

Does that make the “placebo effect” legit?

An estimated one third of all people can improve via the placebo effect…

Studies now show that sugar pills work as well as antidepressants to beat depression. And with far fewer side effects!

Even sham knee surgery was equal to the real thing! In this rare surgery-related placebo study, 180 participants were randomly assigned to have arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis, or sham surgery with incisions.

Tests of knee function showed that those who had the placebo surgery reported feeling just as good as those getting the real operation. While the surgery worked for many people, the sham did also.1

Upon discovering these startling results, one of the doctors involved said, “I hate to tell you this, but surgery may have the biggest placebo effect of all.”

This is rather amazing testimony to the power of your thoughts to bring about healing changes in your body. Just think how much money you’ll save replacing a $5,000 surgery with your brain’s healing power!

In fact, brain scans do suggest the placebo effect is the work of endorphins — your body’s natural pain killers.

But some people experience the opposite. . .

    Sometimes you get the reverse effect — unpleasant “side effects” like headaches, nervousness, nausea, or constipation, to name a few. The improvement is called the “placebo effect“. The reverse is the “nocebo effect“.

Researchers think the nocebo effect can be partially explained by a substance that sends messages through your nerves to your brain. When you’re anxious, this substance is activated, making you feel more pain than someone who’s calm.

The resulting nocebo effect shows up in brain scans too. Brain imaging studies suggest your pain is more intense when you expect more pain versus if you expect less pain.

Together they comprise the expectation effect… what you expect will happen. You expect to feel better, so you do. Or you get this giant pill and imagine it’s a very strong medicine, so you get “side effects”.

I find it very easy to understand the nocebo effect because I’ve experienced side effects from quite a few drugs and supplements. The most common for me are feeling hyper and having trouble sleeping. So I tend to be nervous and to anticipate a problem when trying a new supplement, and my fears may bring on the problem.

In controlled studies ALL drugs and supplements induce side effects in some of the participants. The most common side effect is stomach or intestinal upset. I suspect that in most cases it’s all in the patient’s head — the result of feeling nervous or apprehensive about taking a substance.

Conventional medicine and placebos

    According to the medical literature, placebos do not cure, at least permanently. In fact, the placebo effect doesn’t last very long for most patients, and they go back to experiencing the same symptoms that got them to go to the doctor in the first place. (Yet doctors willingly lie with placebos on the grounds that they “help.” Hmmm…I guess short term relief is better than none.)

In studies on tumor shrinkage, placebos seem to have little or no effect (conventionally speaking)… but may still offer symptomatic relief, calm the patient’s anxiety, reduce pain, and improve sleep.

Some people think placebos work because certain illnesses improve over time without treatment. Or maybe people take better care of themselves while they think they’re receiving a doctor’s care…

Can “remembered wellness” heal you?

    Certain research shows your brain may also respond to an imagined scene as it would to something actually seen. Your imagination may help you recall a time before symptoms, evoking a chemical change — a theory called remembered wellness.2

Some doctors call alternative therapies placebos. In reality, what you believe in can help for awhile and sometimes for a long while.

Certain health problems may also improve on their own — including the so-called Stage Zero Breast Cancer.

So, can you talk yourself into getting well?

    Some people get the placebo effect without any pills, shots, or procedures, just by visiting someone they think can help.

Incredibly, scientists now believe patients can benefit from sham drugs even when they’re told there are no active ingredients in them. Meaning doctors can skip the deceit.

To test these limits, Harvard Medical School ran a test3

They divided 80 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) into two groups — one received no treatment and the other got dummy pills twice a day.

The “dummy pill” group was explicitly told:

  • They were getting placebo pills with no active ingredient (sugar pills)…
  • That these pills were clinically proven to give significant improvement in IBS symptoms through the mind-body self-healing process…
  • That they didn’t have to believe in placebo effect at all — just take the pills…

And the word “placebo” was even printed on the bottle!

The patients were monitored for three weeks. Here are the amazing results, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

  • The placebo group experienced improvement both at the midpoint and end point compared to the non-treatment group.
  • By the end point, nearly twice as many placebo patients had adequate symptom relief compared to the non-treated group.
  • Patients in the placebo group doubled their average rate of improvement compared to those given the most powerful IBS medications.

The researchers were surprised and encouraged, and hope it’ll discourage deception in clinical practice. However, they also warn that more study is necessary due to limitations in the size and length of this study.

Lead author Prof. Ted Kaptchuk says, “…these findings suggest that rather than mere positive thinking, there may be significant benefit to the very performance of medical ritual… Placebo may work even if patients know it is a placebo.” (Emphasis mine.)

Makes me think of primitive shamans or medicine men or “witch doctors”: just performing an elaborate ritual can make a patient feel better.

The bottom line

    The mind-body connection and the placebo effect are hot topics in medicine today. As for hard and fast answers, we’re not there yet. But still, here’s what you can do today:

  1. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Your brain is very powerful, and just because we don’t know “everything” doesn’t mean a placebo can’t work for you. However…
  2. Your key strategy is always to stay as healthy as possible so you don’t need the placebo. Eat organic raw foods daily, exercise 30 minutes a day, slash stress… and all the basics you’ve heard before. Oh, wait! Maybe those are all placebos. . .
  3. If your doctor prescribes medicine, ask if it’s a placebo. Look it up online or in the Physicians’ Desk Reference to be sure it’s “real”. Then ask your pharmacist if it’s a placebo. This isn’t a carte blanche approval for prescription meds, but a plug for honesty in medicine.
  4. Become a better informed medical consumer. Aggressively research and evaluate your own medical care — or find a trusted person to help you. No one cares more about your health than you do. Not even your doctor!


Like Us on Facebook

Kindest regards,

Lee Euler, Publisher


Footnotes:1The New England Journal of Medicine, “The $3 Billion Hoax”, July 11, 2002;347:81-88, 132-133
2http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/
treatmenttypes/placebo-effect

3http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015591

Leave a Reply