Do We Really Need Placebos for Children?
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008

A new product, a placebo ‘pill’ for children, has just hit the market, with controversy following right behind.

The ‘pill’, a cherry-flavored dextrose tablet, is meant to be given to children who think they need medicine, but don’t. It’s called ‘Obecalp’, which is placebo spelled backward. The inventor says the tablets are made to have the taste and feel of real medicine so parents can give children a placebo when they complain of minor ills and reduce the use of unnecessary drugs.

Experts are speaking up on both sides of the issue. Some say that it’s a harmless way to get children to ‘think’ themselves well. Others say that anything that encourages the use of unnecessary ‘medicine’, even imitation ‘medicine’, is inappropriate for children. Some say that this builds a mental dependence on drugs that could lead to drug dependence throughout life. They say that children should learn that many ills don’t require treatment – that minor discomfort can be handled successfully without drugs. Others say that what children with minor ills really need is comfort from parents, not a quick dose of a fake ‘medicine’.

Read more about this issue here and add your comment below to let us know what you think.

guest on September 6, 2008 at 8:44:53 am

Dear Ed and the other poster,
Thanks so much for your comments. If we all can stick together and promote the good science and benefits of supplements while combating misinformation, we will survive, and thrive, as an industry and as a movement.
All my best,
*Private comment posted* @ 3:30:06 pm
guest on August 7, 2008 at 9:41:05 pm

Placebos are effective for everyone, child or adult. That is why it is so hard for new drugs to beat placeboes and the trials have to be double blind so no bias enters in.

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