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Invented by a mother!
June 14, 2013 5:31 PM   Subscribe


 
I don't even know if this is satire. I'm pretty sure there are people who will buy this.
posted by GuyZero at 5:32 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Doctors HATE her!!!!
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on June 14, 2013 [25 favorites]


I've long wondered if there are actual "drug" names which a doctor can write on a prescription that tells the pharmacy to issue a placebo. Of course, if there is such a thing, it's an industry level secret and they wouldn't want someone like me to know about it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:40 PM on June 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


What I actually bet is that doctors use some relatively benign drugs this way, like basic antibiotics. So you actually are getting a drug, but it isn't anything that's applicable to your (lack of) disease.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:42 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chocolate Pickle: I assume it all just happens like in House, where they write a prescription for Perocets and then somebody pockets the percs and gives you Tic Tacs.
posted by 256 at 5:42 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hope not. Antibiotics are about the least benign drug we have, on a societal level.
posted by 256 at 5:43 PM on June 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


There was an episode of ER where a doctor ordered a round of Obecalp (get it? it's placebo spelled backwards!) for a drug seeker or something.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:44 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]




I suggest 100mg fuckitol b.i.d.
posted by eriko at 5:46 PM on June 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've long wondered if there are actual "drug" names which a doctor can write on a prescription that tells the pharmacy to issue a placebo.

I think 600mg ibuprofen is prescription-only for exactly this reason.
posted by KathrynT at 5:48 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I bought some, and dipped it into the atlantic ocean, diluting it and thus increasing the effective power by a factor of 50,000,000,000,000. Gotta love homeopathic Obecalp!

Just have a nice glass of seawater, good for what ails ya.

You're welcome!
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:50 PM on June 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


I mentioned this in another thread today, but B12 is commonly prescribed as a pseudo-placebo. It's good for you and otherwise inert. Win-win.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:51 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am having a double rye from High West. It tastes terrific so it's gotta be good for me!
posted by rtha at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nope, you can no longer write an rx for something that sounds good (thruthy) but is actually a placebo. Unless you practice homeopathic medicine, in which case who is fooling who?

Antibiotic overuse is a real problem; docs know this, and try to prescribe rationally. It can be a challenge when people insist quite strongly that they always get over their cold after a z-pack, etc.
posted by maryrussell at 5:55 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


But is it weird and is it a trick?
posted by Ideefixe at 6:01 PM on June 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think 600mg ibuprofen is prescription-only for exactly this reason.

A placebo shouldn't destroy your liver.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:12 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


> What I actually bet is that doctors use some relatively benign drugs this way, like basic antibiotics.

Antibiotics are NOT benign!!! Weren't you listening?
posted by brenton at 6:21 PM on June 14, 2013


Ibuprofen does not harm your liver.
posted by indubitable at 6:40 PM on June 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Is it effective against TBA?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:54 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've long wondered if there are actual "drug" names which a doctor can write on a prescription that tells the pharmacy to issue a placebo.

Most antibiotics, eventually.
posted by compartment at 7:03 PM on June 14, 2013


As said above, ibuprofen (btw not a placebo) is not particularly toxic for your liver. Can cause some gnarly ulcer issues, though.

I do endorse fukitol. 1 out of 1 doctors agree, it is good for what ails you!
posted by maryrussell at 7:03 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry, I was thinking of Acetaminophen.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:26 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Medical science has advanced beyond the capabilities of standard 1st gen placebos like Obecalp. We now have proglumide, which produces greater analgesia than a standard placebo (but still only works when you know it's being administered).
posted by dephlogisticated at 7:50 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


No harsh chemicals! Gluten free!
posted by pwnguin at 8:04 PM on June 14, 2013


I've long wondered if there are actual "drug" names which a doctor can write on a prescription that tells the pharmacy to issue a placebo.

There's actually an episode of ER in which Dr. Pratt orders "obecalp" for a patient. And gets a lot of shit for it from the nurse (who doesn't need to be told what it is) and the hospital administration.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:29 PM on June 14, 2013


I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine
posted by bitteroldman at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obecalp is not right for everyone. Side effects may include weight loss, weight gain, starry eyes, inverted colon, and anal roaches. Ask your doctor about Obecalp.

Ibuprofen does not harm your liver.

This is incorrect. In fact acetaminophen is now considered the safer medication for people with liver disease. NSAID liver toxicity is far rarer than acetaminophen, but happens unpredictably, sometimes at normal prescription doses. The more you know.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:58 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought about this for a while - but it's an excellent idea.

I'm pretty familiar with the literature on placebos (and nocebos for that matter). So what happens when you give this to someone with a minor ailment, say, a cold or the flu?

The answer is that they will get better somewhat faster than they would have before - and without any side-effects.

Astonishingly, the placebo effect works even if the patient is aware that it's a placebo - but it works best when the patient doesn't know and the medicine is "very medical looking" (comes in an official looking bottle, e.g.)

If I had kids, I'd have a bottle of this around at all times.

And the site is extremely honest about what it does. They explain on the front page that it is inert, what a placebo is in general, and how the placebo effect works.

A+++, really good idea.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:35 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used to chew Halls, Bentacyl, slurp Buckleys, etc. fully aware that they're placebos, but hopeful that the foul taste would convince my brains to motivate my white blood cells.

These days I just take it easy, keep out of public, and sleep.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:14 PM on June 14, 2013


I used to chew Halls, Bentacyl, slurp Buckleys, etc. fully aware that they're placebos, but hopeful that the foul taste would convince my brains to motivate my white blood cells.

I'm not so sure about Halls being a placebo.
posted by Malice at 11:33 PM on June 14, 2013


Read once about a doctor whose patient was badly in need of regular bathing. Dr. wrote an Rx for soap in Latin. Told the patient to apply it daily all over his body, then wash it off. The pharmacist phoned to see if there was some mistake. Story might be apocryphal...
posted by Cranberry at 12:12 AM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't seem to see the actual ingredients listed. Lots of "read the label" and "nothing unnatural", but no specifics. Not even in the 'FAQ'. Did I miss it? Does it contain sugar, or is it truly 'inert'?
posted by Goofyy at 1:19 AM on June 15, 2013


What'd you say bout my momma?
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:27 AM on June 15, 2013


Knowing about placebos can actually be problematic; when I was thirteen I was diagnosed with depression and put on Zoloft. After taking it for a couple of weeks, I became convinced that it was a placebo and that they were giving it to me because they didn't take me seriously and didn't want me to get better. The doctors and my parents were in on it and were in some way against me and it was me against the world because no one believed I was actually depressed or in need of medicine and they thought I would just get better on my own or maybe I was faking it and I couldn't trust anyone because they were relying on the placebo effect to deal with something I knew was real and if I died no one would think it was that big a deal. It sounds strange and disjointed now but it's really how I felt at the time.

This paranoia was an early sign of my later diagnosis of bipolar II which came about nearly ten years later after a serious bout of Zoloft induced hypomania during which shit got BAD.

Anyway, yeah, I think the placebo effect is a really neat and interesting idea and it's a damn shame that knowing about it renders it less effective and also that an awareness of it can fuck with mentally ill teenagers.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:38 AM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


For my kid, Tums served as our all purpose placebo. Advantages: benign (I hope!), cheap AND chewable!
posted by vespabelle at 6:42 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I read an article a while back about "fake placebos", and it took me a while to realize that there is actually a need for such things to be certified as containing nothing active, and so that someone could sell you something that wasn't inactive at all.

And seeing the comments about paracetamol/acetaminophen and liver damage... ISTR talk years back about a version that was less prone to overdose problems, but nothing seemed to come of it. Was I imagining things?
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 7:23 AM on June 15, 2013


I mentioned this in another thread today, but B12 is commonly prescribed as a pseudo-placebo. It's good for you and otherwise inert. Win-win.

Unless you happen to have the very rare mutation that causes Leber's. In which case, your harmless placebo's going to make you blind.
posted by underflow at 7:55 AM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


With my kids, I made a bunch of 3 inch square rice bags (i.e., filled with rice and sewn up) that live in the freezer and make small pains better. They're too small to actually keep cold for very long, so not really effective at keeping down swelling or anything.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2013


The ultimate placebo, of course, is the maternal kiss. I am amazed at the degree of howling pain which can be averted with "mommy kiss it better."
posted by KathrynT at 10:28 AM on June 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not suitable for use in cases of testicular torsion
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:35 AM on June 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was looking for a link to order this. Couldn't find one, can anyone help? This looks like it could help out in so many ways.
posted by Hactar at 4:23 PM on June 15, 2013


I work in medical research and also dabble in witchcraft, and I am always struck by the extent to which placebos are just a special type of spell. Doctors are a bit embarrassed to call them magic, and too many witches are suspicious of empirical research, but I think there are plenty of fruitful conversations to be had about this convergence.
I was pretty impressed by the website, although the pictured preparation did look like the kind of placebo that is most effective for children. They say they will have eight different preparations, though. I like the way they keep using the phrase 'pharmaceutical-grade'. I think they could do more to enhance the effect; for example, they'd do well to provide 'Obecalp Pain-relief', 'Obecalp calm' (blue tablets), 'Obecalp sleep', and maybe 'Obecalp energy' (red).
posted by Acheman at 4:51 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hactar, I saw this website a few years ago and there has never been a link to order it.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:15 AM on June 16, 2013


Acheman: I work in medical research and also dabble in witchcraft,
LOLWUT.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:35 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


The website is also inert!
posted by Mister_A at 2:12 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


LOLWUT.
Well, I could go into detail about how my religious practices and my strong commitment to the values and practices of empirical science interact, although somehow I'm getting the feeling you're not that interested.
As I tried to make clear in my comment, I think that it is often the case that two apparently disparate groups of people may be describing the same thing, but using different language. If you look at the history of cunning men and women in England, it's clear that they tended to specialise in treating ailments that are now known to be, for various reasons, particularly susceptible to the placebo effect: warts, headaches, impotence, infertility, and so on. They were also good at changing what might be described as people's basic mode of relating to the world - making them feel like they were down on their luck and the world was against them, or making them feel that everything was going their way. I don't see what's to be gained by walling off all these areas of human knowledge because they sound like they might be silly. If we label things as 'irrational' and refuse to interact with them, we don't get the opportunity to gain understanding and agency. What's more irrationalist - saying 'we know this works but we don't understand why', or saying 'this appears to work, let's play around with it to see if we can determine as much as possible about when, why and how it works'? We know that beliefs affect people's bodies and behaviour. Why wouldn't we try to manipulate that consciously rather than just letting ourselves be passively subject to it? Historically, the 'why not' has been because hierarchical religions tend to discourage ordinary people from doing the work of priests or gods. Breaking out of that mindset in one direction has given us science and technology, but some of the old taboos have been pretty hard to break. Sociologists and anthropologists have developed ways of studying and talking about magical beliefs, and I don't see why some of the disciplines that are further up the Moh scale shouldn't make their own peace with this aspect of human practice.
I could write a lot more about this, but I'm going to stop there. I mean, keep being all LOL if you like - it's no skin off my nose, and to be honest I think that embracing what is embarrassing and taboo and shameful is one of modern neopaganism's greatest strengths - but if you're someone who is interested in the world, you might want to approach unexpected things with more curiosity and less lulz.
posted by Acheman at 9:16 AM on June 17, 2013


Sorry, Acheman, but I'm an atheist and a scientist, and your beliefs conflict with science. Have fun with your religion, but you are really no different to me than a Catholic priest who believes in both the transubstantiation of the host, and in the Laws of Thermodynamics: you contradict yourself.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:44 AM on June 17, 2013


I must have missed the part where we discussed what my beliefs actually are.
posted by Acheman at 10:11 AM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, that was probably excessively sarcastic and did not further the discussion. But I do wonder whether you aren't perhaps filling in the blanks a bit here. It may be that we disagree on matters of substance, but you haven't really ascertained that. Paganism and witchcraft aren't really ontology-centric practices, although that maybe isn't as widely known as it should be. Anyway, I am going to gracefully end my participation in this conversation now, since you're not interested in it and I'm not getting anything out of it.
posted by Acheman at 10:20 AM on June 17, 2013


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