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UK doctors prescribing....placebo's

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21834440

 

"In a poll, 97% of 783 GPs admitted that they had recommended a sugar pill or a treatment with no established efficacy for the ailment their patient came in with."

 

 

"Almost all of the GPs said they had provided patients with treatments, like supplements, probiotics and complementary medicines, that were unproven for their medical condition. Three-quarters said they offered unproven treatments on a daily or weekly basis."

 

 

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1194
Joined: Apr 2009

My first thought when I read this was that it sort of makes you feel like a "testing gound" without your permission. Most doctors I have personally seen seem to have endless little packets of some "new" medicine or other. I realize that somebody has to test stuff, but I don't think this is the safe way to do it.

Luv,

Wolfen

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

Thmidis simply gps recommending unproven other counter remedies like probiotics and complementary medicines for which there may be insufficient evidence to be confident they work in conditions that patients present with. For example patients with diarrhoea illnesses are often recommended probiotics even thought the evidence is not yet conclusive of an effect or herbal remedies for minor ailments for which we have littélysées to offer eg pmt, tiredness, chronic aches and pains etc.

It is not giving new medicines that aren't yettested as a way of testing them!

Steve

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

they are giving stuff they believe has value to patients who want something...

However there is a difference between giving a sal****er injection or sugar pill (direct placebo's) or probiotic's or herbal remedies which may be a placebo or which might actually have a biologic effect.

Im just pleased they aren't saying 'sorry there is nothing I can give you that is proven to work.....next!'

LOL salt water has been censored...wonder why.

coloCan
Posts: 1850
Joined: Oct 2009

together........censored!!!!! (same reason i can't cite anything from the site marke****ch)

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

I thought that swear word was only used in the UK. Live and learn.

And Wolfen your right, they are experimenting on us.

coloCan
Posts: 1850
Joined: Oct 2009

is genetically modified foods.....EDUCATE YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!

A recent-yesterday-report came out lauding soy for CRC,liver and another cancer yet most soy produced in US is GMOed.....Did researchers take that into account? What type of soy was used? Does it matter?

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1225
Joined: Oct 2010

When Docotors or nutritionists talk about soy, they are talking about Edamame or Real Tofu.  We can get both in the USA but one has to read the labels. Real Tofu is not what most Tofu is in the USA.

 

We have Soy derivatives in a lot of our food.  Soy MSG, Lecithin, fat, oil, Natural Flavor, etc...   There are over 60 names for Soy additives in the USA.   My wife is very allergic to soy.  We can not buy prepackaged food in the USA because most of it has soy in it. We can not buy a seasoned meat, ham, lunch meat because most have soy in them. If we can read the package then we can decide.  Many companies are now adding soy to Milk, and Butter!  We have to read all packages or she gets sick.

 

Many people have a toxcity to Soy. It is in everything they eat and they have reached their limit. My indigestion went away after avoiding all soy. I thought it was due to the cancer and chemo, nope Soy.

 

A great Blog and Book:  The Hidden Dangers of Soy    - She explains her allergy to soy and then many other's issues with soy.  How to avoid Soy, and which companies to write to to stop Soy in all of our foods!

Best Always,  mike 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1482
Joined: Jan 2013

I read an EXCELLENT book about the dangers of SOY and how a high percentage of it was GM (genetically modified). I got it from the library over a year ago and now I can't remember the name of the book. It also talked allot about the big companies who and the FDA who have their hands in the pockets of these large companies. Must try to remember the name of the book. 

Here in the states they don't require cmpanies to mark their lables GM. same with the anitbiotics in milk. I like that about England and Europe, their labeling is much more comsumer friendly.

I eat as much organic as I can. My friends are quick to point out that I'm the one with cancer so they question organic foods. 

Just my rambling here. Probably not adding much to the thread, but its keeping my mind busy as I await the home health nurse to come and disconnect me from my pump. 

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2255
Joined: Oct 2011

The New Scientist.   It had an article a while back about the placebo effect that I found interesting...

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17993-placebo-effect-caught-in-the-act-in-spinal-nerves.html

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1225
Joined: Oct 2010

Unproven to Western Science, or to the World?  Japan and China have many good studies from relevant hospitals and Universities that show good nutrition and adding certain supplements add efficacy to Chemo.  UK Docs are allowed to tell their patients of such supplements with out being sued.

 

My GP tells me to addd certain supplements as long as we are off the record. I also have a Doc friend that sugests supplements for me to try.  HE teels me worse case you added a new herb to your food and diet.

 

Best Always,  mike

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 969
Joined: Oct 2010

I am glad that the doctors are paying attention to the off label uses and complementary medicine.  Calling things a placebo for uses that are not yet formally demonstrated to the level of an FDA New Drug Application, ie. "proven" (not really) or the UK equivalent, is greatly mistaken.

dmj101's picture
dmj101
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2011

Nothing like posting an allarming statement...

Important fact that all should be aware of (a fact I was unaware of till I went to work in this industry).... NO patient in any clinical study or trial is never not treated or actually given a placebo... they will always recieve the current standard of care as a bare minimum... and if the patient slips they will be refered back to their dr or taken off the study... and usually recieve care thru the drs in the study.

Please be careful when you read a post such as this and can be mislead...

Supplements if a valid approved treatment can be offered and even part of a trial or study but be aware, they are rarely ever offered on their own.. and anyone who takes a supplement without doing their own due diligence research.. shame on them....

I am not brainwashed by my job.. I personally would never participate in a study unless I had no alternatives but I have felt this way always... I did not seek to work in this industry I am an HR person not a clinician but you can't help but absorb some of the details of what your company does by working with others there.. I have resources there to find out facts and details that others may not so I am very lucky and very appreciative.. God sent me to this job.

Knowledge is POWER... please use your best judgment and when in doubt ask...

-Donna

 

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

This is about familiy doctors giving placebos not people on clinical trials, but your perspective on trials and placebo is interesting, I was sure they did placebo sometimes.

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1194
Joined: Apr 2009

I am the first to admit it. I smoke and have done so for 47 years. Each doctor that I have visited over the years has asked me if I would like to quit. At this time(may someday change), my answer is no.

This may be irrelevant but a long time before any of us heard the name "Chantix", a doctor gave me some samples he had just received from the departing pharmacy representative(the guy you always see in the waiting area with the big black case). He told me these would help me stop smoking. I didn't take the pills. In this particular case, I doubt he knew much more about them than I did, including the side effects which would become evident with further testing.  I personally would not want to take a pill that could cause heart trouble, suicidal tendencies, nausea, etc. unless it was absolutely necessary.

So, I guess I'm a little leery of these samples.

And Donna, I am now confused, also. Every new drug trial that I've seen has mentioned a percentage of patients receiving a placebo.

Luv,

Wolfen

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

of the Krebiozen story;

 

Many doctors know the story of ''Mr. Wright,'' who was found to have cancer and in 1957 was given only days to live. Hospitalized in Long Beach, Calif., with tumors the size of oranges, he heard that scientists had discovered a horse serum, Krebiozen, that appeared to be effective against cancer. He begged to receive it.

His physician, Dr. Philip West, finally agreed and gave Mr. Wright an injection on a Friday afternoon. The following Monday, the astonished doctor found his patient out of his ''death bed,'' joking with the nurses. The tumors, the doctor wrote later, ''had melted like snowballs on a hot stove.''

Two months later, Mr. Wright read medical reports that the horse serum was a quack remedy. He suffered an immediate relapse. ''Don't believe what you read in the papers,'' the doctor told Mr. Wright. Then he injected him with what he said was ''a new super-refined double strength'' version of the drug. Actually, it was water, but again, the tumor masses melted.

Mr. Wright was ''the picture of health'' for another two months -- until he read a definitive report stating that Krebiozen was worthless.... He died two days later.

 

wolfen's picture
wolfen
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Joined: Apr 2009

But it certainly gives you things to think about, doesn't it?

Luv,

Wolfen

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

Please be reassured that gps in the uk are unlikely to prescribe sugar tablets as it is not considered ethical by pretty much all. However if you ask them the question do you suggest people take sugar tablets Or tablets that are not proven to be effective in their ailment pretty much all will say 'yes' and damn good too, or eLse they would have little to offer the majority of people who present. 

They are not experimenting on patients but all docs are aware of the significance of the placebo effect and the fact that there is much we don't know about treatments that lie outside the standard formulary.

Please stay away from shock headlines and impacting stories that verge on urban legends- mwnn you are better and more intelligent than that.

Steve

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1194
Joined: Apr 2009

Thank you for the clarification. In some instances, not all, perhaps our medical system is a little more broken than yours. However, I don't understand the logic of giving a patient something that is not effective for their ailment, unless it's for psychological reasons. To me, it's dishonest.

And I don't mean to bash all in your profession. It's just that I've run into a few questionable practioners over the years.

Luv,

Wolfen 

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

I appreciate your scepticism and accept not all docs norall health systems arat functioning at the level we would wish. The rationale for prescribing things that lack evidence is simply accepting that docs generally are trained at requiring a high level of scientific proof of efficacy before accepting it isthere or before a drug is licensed for a disorder. This requires multiple rct type trials and huge cost. As you know pretty much all complementary meds fall outside this so any doc recommending herbs,supplements or complementary meds is technicallysuggesting treatment that lacksa evidence ofefficacy. Most presenters to gps in the uk have mild problems that don't represent any specific illness but symptoms for which there is no proven medical treatment but lots of things that may help. It is these that are a gps main armoury.

Admitted conflict of interest being a doc married to a gp with many gp friends, all ofwhom I feel spend their lives trying their best to help people. Hence, sensationalist headlines anddodgy reporting ofsturdy findings for effect, does rub me up the wrong way. I'm all for a good discussion about the practice or use of placebo effect but would want it done honestly and without the sensationalism.

Steve

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

I think the idea that GP's prescribe unproven/CAM treatments very interesting concerning some of the discussions here on how 'valid' an alternative is and someones right to take it, Im very glad they do that rather than nothing. 

As for 'shock headlines'...aren't all media guilty of that? 

Now the 'urban legend' are you refering to the '"melted like snowballs" statement?"  I have to agree if a story is repeated often enough it can become 'true' however I never found any evidence that it didn't happen, still it wouldn't be the first time a placebo has had an effect that seemed unbelievable.  Vittorio Micheli springs immediatley to mind.

Also there is the other side of the GP story, many people actually have nothing wrong with them in the first place, so it seems ok to give them nothing.

However giving an antibiotic for a viral infection does seem negligent to me

I have to add as well, the study came from Oxford University. Read the study here

dmj101's picture
dmj101
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2011

Bottom line is that this practice would be unethical.. and against the HYPOCRATIC Oath...

and maybe even illegal not to treat a known disease....

Maybe I am niave but I really and truly and whole heartedly believe this would never happen in the US.. and I highly doubt it would occur in the UK either.. though there is no accounting for sociallized medicine...

Please have faith and stay clear of sensationalized headlines..

 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2255
Joined: Oct 2011

for a particular condition, like probiotics for digestive issues, is not the same as giving a sugar pill (although even then, if you read the article I linked, there can be actual physiological change as a result of the placebo).   But anyway...I'm not sure why this article is conflating the two.  "Placebo" is simply not the same as "treatment with no established efficacy" (given the standards required to establish efficacy in a scientifically acceptable fashion, I think docs probably do this on a fairly regular basis).  I find this more confusing than anything.  

And that "melting snowball" story?  I'm sure you know, Tony, that not being able to find proof that something is an urban legend is not the same as saying that the story is true.  Especially when the story doesn't make a ton of sense.

I'm in agreement with Steve on this one.

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

Because that "melting snowball" story happened so long ago, I assume the Doctor and nurses involved are no longer here, but Vittorio Micheli apparently is still alive and his is the most documented 'unbelievable' story of 'placebo'  so if his story is possible why not the other?

But I will investigate further. I have to say though I know that story from an old book (pre-internet) and Im sure there is a checkable source.

Did anyone actually read the original study?

And not just the UK.

"In a 1974 Scientific American article entitled the “Ethics of Giving Placebos,” the authors stated that “35-45 percent of all prescriptions are for substances that are incapable of having an effect on the condition for which they are prescribed.” Dr. Halstead Holman of Stanford University has noted that “three of four of the most commonly prescribed drugs treat no specific illness.”

There are studies done in Europe too, I imagine it's a global phenomenon where doctor's would rather give something than nothing and not let their patients down.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2255
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you read my study, Tony, and I'll read yours!  That New Scientist article (how do you make a link clickable, anyway?) shows that the placebo effect may lead to actual, physiological results, so I'm not saying that the "snowball" story is impossible, but I would want to see some evidence,  like scans, doctor reports, etc.  The world of cancer is absolutely rife with fakers, including people who convince their own family members they have cancer, so I'm very suspicious of this sort of thing.   I don't know the Micheli story, will take a look.  There have been cases of spontaneous remission documented, so that can happen, although I believe it's very rare.  AA

PS I'm sure docs do give placebo, especially if the study defined "placebo" as things "not proven to have an effect"...not arguing with you at all on that one.  But like I said in my previous comment, I don't think those things are the same at all, and I don't feel they should be lumped together.  Sugar pill does not equal probiotics, imo.

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

I read EVERYTHINGWink BTW sub to new scientist = epic win! when I get home (we are doing treatment) will look for the source of "snowballs" the Micheli story is even more strange, one of the few actual confirmed 'miracles' by the Catholic church.

Now we arent arguing about anything, sugar pill does NOT equal probiotic or Vit D3, the study lumped them together not me. (but if you read the study.....)

For the record I think GP's giving stuff they think might help is great!  Better than giving nothing and telling the person nothing to be done.

Sponteneous remission (not even placebo) is very rare and usually preceded by a fever. Been looking at fever therapy with Coley toxin for a couple of years.

*highlight* then click on *chain* paste URL click *insert*, done.

 

Also the guy who was treated died of cancer, the FDA looked at the treatment and found it was worthless and charged the inventor with fraud, hard to see the 'angle' on this one except a potent placebo effect.

dmj101's picture
dmj101
Posts: 526
Joined: Nov 2011

Just an FYI.... In the US... Trials and studies have been FDA regulated since the 80's. As have the rx's that are given out.. it is highly unlikely at least here in the US that this would ever happen. It is unethical and in this highly litigous society drs would be more likely to order more tests and get a definitive diagnosis before ever giving an rx for something that wouldn't treat what you got..

This is the last I am checking this post.. You are sensationalizing a headline that is just trying to scare people.. and it is a shame people will follow this and think you are on to something when all you are doing is spreading fear.... Find something postive to post please..  time to move on...

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

This IS a positive post....main stream doc's are helping people!      I really think you need to read the study, this is NOTHING to do with clinical trials.

Jeez......

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2255
Joined: Oct 2011

It's talking about docs giving their patients a variety of things that have not been scientifically proven  to treat a particular condition.  So if I go in to see my GP about my ongoing digestive issues and he gives me probiotics, that would be an example that could be included in this study.  I think mixing up placebo (as in sugar pills) with things like probiotics makes this study confusing and as you say, more sensationalized than it needs to be, but it's just not about clinical trials.  And it's not unethical for a doctor to try something with his/her patients that might help but hasn't yet met the high standard required to be considered efficacious in a clinical sense.  I don't see how this thread is "spreading fear".  But you aren't checking this thread anyway, so I may just be talking to myself here!  AA

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
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there is a guy on the Colon Club forum (user lohidoc) who is doing a version of this.  Apparently very hush-hush and under the table, although he has found a doc in the States (i think) who will do it.  He recently posted his scan results and he has shown marked improvement (and he had a pretty major tumor load to begin with).  You might want to check out his story, see what you think.  He has a blog as well, where you could message him if you wanted to get more details.  Personally, I think there is something to the Coley's toxins concept, although it seems difficult to replicate safely.  Of course, not much is safe when it comes to cancer tx.

And just for the record, I did read the study, and was arguing against the study's mixing of the two terms...I could tell that you weren't making that point.  

And I would def recommend shelling out the big bucks for the New Scientist.  It's an awesome source for all things science-related, even for right-brain dummy history majors like me.  

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

Will def. check him out,  I also found a clinic in the US which would do it but they wouldn't take kids, our Prof. does use it,  when he gets back into the country we will discuss it, your right it does have risks which is one reason Im not pushing it too hard, but we are getting nervous, scan time soon,  you know how it is...

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
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Joined: Oct 2011

but scan time for your kid?  Ten million times more horrible, imo.  What you are dealing with is much, much harder than what I am dealing with.  By far.

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

MRI is in 8 days, but his birthday is on the 15th, reckon we will change it till after. 

I posted to lohidoc's thread, hope he answers. Saw his scan's,  very impressive!!!

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2255
Joined: Oct 2011

And I saw that Marc responded to you on Colon Club...I hope it's helpful for you!

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

is turning 10, very important age here, he will be allowed to paintball!Laughing

renw's picture
renw
Posts: 282
Joined: Jan 2013

Tony, have you by any chance found a source for coley's? Virtually all docs and clinics that used to offer it sourced it from mbvax.com, but they stopped production as were shut down for not having appropriate pharma grade manufacturing facilities.

manwithnoname
Posts: 393
Joined: Jun 2012

This was one of many options our Prof. put on the table ( actually he wrote them on the window ) at the time DC vax was our priority, but I knew Coleys from a few years ago, one of those interesting options put on the back burner, I also found it was hard to find a Doc. to do it, especially on a child, I did find one in the US. can't remember where.

Our Doc.is on holiday for 2 weeks, when he gets back I will ask about his source.

Because he is a Prof. he does have some very interesting things for 'research' 

*edit*  found it;  http://www.camelotcancercare.com/blog/category/coleys-toxins/

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