Actitudes de los médicos familiares mexicanos sobre el uso de placebos en la práctica clínica

Translated title of the contribution: Attitudes of Mexican family doctors about the use of placebos in clinical practice

Issa Gil-Alfaro, Gad Gamed Zavala-Cruz, Azucena Maribel Rodríguez-González, José Manuel Ramírez-Aranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The use of placebo has spread in clinical practice despite being controversial. In Mexico, the practice of family medicine is predominantly institutional and works with an essential medications list. Objective: To determine the frequency and family doctor attitude regarding the use of placebos in clinical practice. Method: Cross-sectional, observational, multicenter study of 307 family doctors with active practice in 27 states of the Mexican Republic. A questionnaire was used with sociodemographic data and consensus-developed questions about frequency of use and attitudes. For analysis, the square-chi test was used. Results: 75% used placebos (95% CI=69.7-79.4%); 122 (39.7%) used pure placebos, mainly water (p < 0.05), and 220 (71.6%), impure placebos, mainly vitamins and laboratory tests. They were used more in patients with medically unexplained physical symptoms (178, 45.5%), including 122 (31.2%) "healthy worried" patients, or who had chronic conditions (40, 12.5%). Reasons for prescription: 249 (81%) for the psychological effect, when they showed benefit (176, 57%), even when it implied deceiving (78, 25%) or insufficient evidence of efficacy (57, 19%). The main reason was because of patient insistence. Conclusions: More impure placebos were used, mainly in healthy worried patients and in those with chronic conditions.

Translated title of the contributionAttitudes of Mexican family doctors about the use of placebos in clinical practice
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalGaceta Medica de Mexico
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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