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Using Placebos

In 2006, a policy concerning the use placebos was created by the American Medical Associations (AMA). It states, “Physicians may use placebos for diagnosis or treatment only if the patient is informed of and agrees to its use.”

A placebo is a harmless form of treatment that has no medicinal effects. It is intended to merely satisfy or even deceive a patient. It sometimes has an actual effect on the patient’s medical condition, which is commonly known as the “placebo effect.”

The placebo effect makes patients believe that the treatment they receive is effective. They think the medicine is curing them however in truth; it is not actually what they believe it to be. It only has a psychological effect.

There has been some controversy as to whether placebos are ethical. Placebos do work in some situations. They can be explained scientifically, making many agree with using them. However, they can also cause moral issues.

About 97 percent of doctors claim that they have used placebos on their patients at least once in their career and 77 percent of doctors admit to its frequent use. This means there is a possibility that you may have been given a placebo in one of your visits to the doctor. It is now quite common for doctors to use this kind of treatment.

It is also believed that doctors prescribe placebos to lessen the amount of medicine that enters the body, but is it right to give a patient “false” medicine?

Even if placebos are effective, they are neither what the patient asked for nor what he or she is paying for. Real medicines are likely to have greater effects. Real medicines have undergone research and they have approved therapeutic purposes.

A placebo on the other hand, is mostly experimental and it may even have unwanted side effects. It may also not work the way doctors intend them to. In order for it to take effect, the patient must believe that it is an effective cure.

Moreover, an unscrupulous health care practitioner may also convince an otherwise healthy people that they are suffering from an illness just so they can prescribe long-term placebo therapy.

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questions

Debate : Using Placebos


The acceptability of using placebos remains questionable but doctors still consider it as a mode of treatment for patients. Some claim that using placebos has its benefits but some points against the use of placebos were also made. What are your opinions about this issue?



Acceptable


1. It has been proven effective in some cases.


2. It could help people from absorbing too much medicine.


3. Doctors are already using them and have used them a number of times.



Unacceptable


1. Placebos are not what they paid for.


2. There could be side effects.


3. It could make the patients’ conditions worse.

vocabularies

physician 의사 


diagnosis 진단 

harmless 무해한 

medicinal 약효가 있는 

deceive 속이다기만하다 

ethical 윤리적인 

prescribe 처방하다 

therapeutic 치료상의치료법의

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