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Placebo Pills For Kids- A Pill For All Ills

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:59 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Cold Medications, Children's Motrin, Ear Aches,

Placebo pills for children will soon be sold.  



IMAGE SOURCE:  ©iStockPhoto/ mother and sick child/ author: Igor Balasanov


Your child is sick.  You can give him a fever reducer, rub his back, give him comfort and a little chicken soup. Or you can give him a placebo pill? 

That is the latest concept developed by a Maryland mother.

Jennifer Buettner was caring for a sick niece when the idea struck her.  Instead of a Motrin tablet, why not give a placebo, a sugar pill, and see if the suggestion of medication might bring about the effects of medication without the side effects?  

Buettner, from Severna Park, Maryland has taken her idea and run with it.  

Founder of Efficacy Brands, Obecalp (placebo spelled backwards) is a chewable, cherry- flavored tablet made of sugar. Expect to see them on store shelves June 1 and because they contain no drug, they’ll be sold as a dietary supplement and you’ll be able to find them anywhere you are willing to fork over $5.95 for 50 tablets.

“This is designed to have the texture and taste of actual medicine so it will trick kids into thinking that they’re taking something,” Ms. Buettner tells the New York Times. “Then their brain takes over, and they say, ‘Oh, I feel better.’ ”

Do placebos work?   One study found that when 70 children were given placebos for attention deficit disorder.  They knew the medication was a sugar pill.  After a few months the majority of the children, 80 percent, reported the placebo had helped them, suggesting it might not be necessary to deceive your children to help them.

Then there is the question of cementing in a child’s mind a “pill for every ill” solution to feeling badly. 

Then there are the times when pain is a real sign that parents need to make a run to an emergency room.  Buettner hopes that a burst appendix or broken ear drum could not be quieted with a placebo.

Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist who studies placebos at the Stanford School of Medicine, tells the New York Times that this plays into the conditioning of children which might make them easy targets for all sorts of pitches later in life.

“They used to sell candied cigarettes to kids to get them used to the idea of playing with cigarettes,” he tells the Times.

But patents up at night with a crying child might forgo conditioning worries for a good night’s sleep. 

After all, some suggest, the comforting that accompanies the “kiss it to make it feel better” is a tried and true form of placebo that worked well for centuries.  #

1 Comment

Posted by Katherine - oopdoohug.com
Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:39 AM EST

I'm a Mom coming out with my own 'this works to soothe my child' product. My child was one whose tears would instantly dry up once given a Band-Aid. When he started complaining of stomach aches at night and demanding 'medicine' with the same intensity that he used to ask for a Band-Aid, that's where I drew the line. I believed that he just needed that same type of magic cure that a Band-Aid gave him. So I literally made him a soft fleece wrap that looked like a bandage. He wraps it around the part that doesn't feel good. The first time he tried it I have to admit I was hopeful but skeptical. But he stopped complaining, relaxed and went to sleep. I high-fived my husband!! It also has a pocket that can hold a hot or cold pack for the more serious aches and bumps. So I just launched my product over Memorial Day weekend at LINK The timing with the Obecalp launch is an interesting coincidence.

Comments for this article are closed.

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