Attitudes to and Understanding of Placebo Use: A Cross- Sectional Exploratory Study in a Malaysian Hospital

  • Amanda Villiers Tuthill Perdana University Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine, Perdana University, Serdang, Malaysia.
  • Tay Zhuo Han Perdana University Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine, Perdana University, Serdang, Malaysia.
  • Chang Xian Chai International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Ai Wen Chai Perdana University Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine, Perdana University, Serdang, Malaysia.
  • Chun Yiing Wong Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
  • Karen Morgan Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.
Keywords: Health knowledge; attitudes; and practice, Malaysia, Placebos, Placebo effect, Physician-patient relations

Abstract

Background: This study explored doctors’ understanding of ‘placebo’, mechanisms of action, perceptions about effectiveness and concerns about use in a Malaysian teaching hospital. Methods: A survey questionnaire. Results: Respondents were 76 doctors (response rate: 55%): 52% were female, mean age was 32 years, and 61% were physicians/medical officers. Most (66.2%) never used a placebo. The main reason for use of placebos was for a possible psychological effect. Placebo use was considered unacceptable due to endangering of doctor-patient trust (59.2%) or patient deception (47.4%). Conclusion: Developing specific and professional standards and guidance on placebo use could help doctors to leverage the benefits of placebo use without endangering the doctor-patient relationship.

Author Biography

Amanda Villiers Tuthill, Perdana University Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine, Perdana University, Serdang, Malaysia.

Tay Zhuo Han is currently a 4th year medical student at the Perdana University Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Medicine, Perdana University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Published
2016-12-31
How to Cite
Tuthill, A. V., Han, T. Z., Chai, C. X., Chai, A. W., Wong, C. Y., & Morgan, K. (2016). Attitudes to and Understanding of Placebo Use: A Cross- Sectional Exploratory Study in a Malaysian Hospital. International Journal of Medical Students, 4(3), 108-111. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijms.2016.162
Section
Short Communication