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Article: What’s worse? Doctors who believe homeopathy or just use it for placebo effect

Discussion in 'Other health news and research' started by Cheshire, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

    Edit: this article reviews a very interesting survey sent to Zurich GPs.

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  2. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    "Overall, about 23 percent (345 doctors) reported having prescribed homeopathic treatments or referred patients to homeopaths within the 12 months prior to the survey. This was dubbed the “prescribers” group. The types of doctors most strongly linked to dabbling with the quackery were pediatricians, gynecologists/obstetricians, and those without a specialisation."

    I found the above the most shocking, particularly the paediatricians. Now this makes one think of the "kiss it better" technique used by parents, but I think there is a big difference between being a doctor seeing a patient prescribing treatment, to a parent making a judgement call on the severity of a fall/grazed knee.

    I suspect there is a gender discrimination thing going on here as well. Personally I think there is no excuse for prescribing placebo treatments...it's unethical.

    Others may say, it might be appropriate if it's used in the right context to enhance primary care etc. I say well how do you draw that line?

    Best off trying to stop making excuses for this and just call a spade a spade. Homeopathy is nothing more than a confidence trick using the power of suggestion and has no place in modern medicine. Practioners of this in the medical field should undergo disciplinary procedures until the practice is stamped out. Especially pediatricians!
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  3. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    Very interesting. But I wonder whether these results would generalise outside of Europe. I have always had the impression that the homeopathy culture is particularly strong in France and Germany, and I'd expect Switzerland would share some of the same cultural elements.

    Nonetheless, the article documents a phenomenon that's probably universal (placating patients with sham treatments).

    To play devil's advocate, doctors are in a difficult predicament when faced with an untreatable illness. Part of the problem is at the patient's end - patients don't want to hear "there's nothing we can do", they want to walk out with that script that will fix it all. That's kind of the whole reason alternative medicine flourishes. I'm sure doctors also do a lot of "sham" prescribing involving conventional treatment too - you know, "here's some antidepressants, they might help with the pain..."

    A lot of the change has to come from the culture more widely. Then I think doctors will follow suit.
  4. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, France seems to be the country where homeopathy is the most used (36% of the population!). 17% in the UK, 7% in Germany, 14% women and 10% of men in Italy prefer homeopathic medicine to conventional medicine, 15% in Spain. In Switzerland, in a survey, a total of 3,126 adult patients responded to a questionnaire, 1,363 of whom received conventional medical treatment and 1,702 who received homeopathic treatment.

  5. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    My local GP practice in the UK had one GP among the 6 in the practice who had done some training in homeopathy and who offered it to those who requested it, as well as doing conventional medicine most of the time. I was referred to her at one stage about 20 years ago for my ME and tried it, with no effect. I suspect they found it 'useful' for 'MUS' patients.

    Oddly enough I tended otherwise to avoid that GP when she was in conventional mode because she was the least empathetic and the most likely to tell me to exercise. I have no idea whether she actually believed in homeopathy. She retired some years ago.
    Woolie, Esther12, Mij and 2 others like this.
  6. Valentijn

    Valentijn Guest

    There might be a different use of terminology, in the paper or in the understanding of the doctors. In the Netherlands, anything with natural ingredients often gets labeled as homeopathy. Basically, it includes naturopathic substances, rather than just truly homeopathic treatments.

    My toothpaste is "homeopathic" because it doesn't include the mainstream ingredients (flouride or surfactants) ... though it includes the basic abrasives which make it a toothpaste. No dilution is involved :p
    fossil, Samuel, Viola and 6 others like this.
  7. erin

    erin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    My UK GP, after diagnosing me with ME, told me there's nothing conventional medicine could offer me at the time (2008, nothing changed since then I guess). She asked me if I would like to try any conventional medicine and I choose homeopathy; I once paid for homeopathic treatment and it worked for the complaint I had. I was then referred to the homeopathic hospital and tried several remedies. Some helped some didn't.
    Allele likes this.

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