Should doctors cover up side effects?
We all know about the “placebo effect.” It’s the idea that just believing in a treatment can be enough to make it work.
Well, researchers have a new one for us now, the “nocebo effect.” They’re arguing that sometimes a patient develops side effects from a drug simply because his doctor told him about the possibility of the side effects. Therefore, docs better leave any negativity about drugs at the door, thank you very much.
The reason for this wacky conclusion? Patients who were told that a leg-flexing test could boost their chronic pain a bit were more likely to feel additional pain, and perform worse on the test, than those who were told that the test would NOT affect their pain level.
This one study, and a handful of other small ones, were apparently enough to have some researchers propose sugar-coating the truth about pharmaceutical drug risks.
Basically, the researchers are saying that telling patients the truth about a drug’s side effects… or not being enough of a cheerleader for the drug…could be setting their patients up for failure. But as extreme as that thought is, it’s not even the real shocker here.
One researcher actually goes on to suggest that patients don’t need as much information about the bad things that could happen when they take a particular drug. Instead, he says, we should go into every treatment “believ[ing] that it will work well.”
Basically, he is advocating taking away our right to full informed consent about our own health care.
I’m all for being positive, and for believing the best about a treatment. But given the choice between blind faith and the truth, I’m going to choose the truth every time.
P.S. Are you as sick of the cover-ups and lies as I am? There’s a reason I look forward to Dr. Wright’s Nutrition & Healing every month. He presents the truth about the natural alternatives that leave the mainstream’s offerings in the dust. No hidden side effects, no secret risks–just powerful natural medicine that will change your life.
“The ‘Nocebo’ Effect: If You Think You’ll Get Sick, You Will,” Medline Plus (nlm.nih.gov)