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Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

Posted May 30, 2008 12:00 AM by Sharkles

For most people, taking care of their children is a priority. You don't want your kids to feel sadness, hurt, or anything else that causes them pain. Having a sick child can be worrisome and frustrating. While you'd like to help them feel better, sometimes you can't until (maybe) now, thanks to Obecalp – cherry-flavored dextrose placebo tablets.

Obecalp (placebo spelled backwards) was invented by Jennifer Buettner, whose niece was suffering from a case of hypochondria. Persons with hypochondria are overcome with excessive worry about having a serious illness, to the extent that they do not believe otherwise. While trying to help her niece, Buettner's mother-in-law (a nurse) told her to give the child a Motrin tablet.

A Mother's Solution

Not completely comfortable with that solution, Jennifer Buettner sent her husband to the store to buy placebo pills. Studies have shown that placebo tablets may reduce high blood pressure, depression, and pain. When her husband came back empty-handed, Buettner said the idea just "clicked" – thus bringing Obecalp to life. Jennifer Buettner and her husband, Dennis, then founded the placebo company "Efficacy Brands". Their goal was to create a product that would allow parents to treat their children for minor ills, while reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics and other medications.

Because Obecalp does not contain an active drug, it will not be sold under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules for medications. Instead, the placebos will be sold as "dietary supplements", meaning that they can be sold at many more stores. According to Jennifer Buettner, Obecalp "is designed to have the texture and taste of actual medicine so it will trick kids into thinking that they're taking something…Then their brain takes over, and they say, 'Oh, I feel better.'"

Do Placebos Work?

"The idea that we can use a placebo as a general treatment method strikes me as inappropriate" says Dr. Howard Brody, a medical ethicist and family physician at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. According to Dr. Brody, placebos can have dramatic effects for some people, while doing nothing for others. Bioethicist Franklin G. Miller agrees with Brody. "As a parent of three now grown children, I can't think of a single instance where I'd want to give a placebo".

The power of placebos lies, of course, in the belief that they'll work. Experts are questioning how effective Obecalp will be, since the people dispensing them out know that they're not real. However, a 2007 study asked parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to replace some medications with placebos. Both parents and children were told that these "dose extenders" contained no drug. Nevertheless, at the end of three months, 80% of the children reported that the placebo had helped them.

Promoting Drug Dependency?

Jennifer Buettner doesn't say explicitly what Obecalp can treat. Rather, she says that "you'll know when Obecalp is necessary". But does administering a placebo each time a child has an ache or pain teach that a cure is always found in a bottle? Dr. Brody worries that "kids could grow up thinking that the only way to get better is by taking a pill. If they do that, they will not learn that a minor complaint like a scraped knew or a cold can improve on its own."

While Dr. Brody believes that Obecalp could entice anyone who has been up all night with a crying child, he claims that medication is not what the child is really looking for. "Does a sick child really want X-rays or M.R.I's of the latest antibiotic? No, all the sick child wants is comforting".


What do you think?

  • Are placebos like Obecalp necessary?
  • Would you consider giving your child a placebo?
  • Could this cause drug dependency, or produce more child hypochondriacs?
  • Is giving a child a placebo such as Obecalp lying?

Resources:

http://www.placebostore.com/obecalp-chewable-tablets.html

http://www.inventedbyamother.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypochondriasis

http://www.prnewsnow.com/Public_Release/Medical/186829.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/27/health/27plac.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1212067961-UFgSRf7wyDtvwGuRSTGmiw

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#1

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/30/2008 9:51 PM

Nice... Don't want to give them the "real deal" but lets get them thinking that they are taking it and still get them hooked on the idea of taking drugs in order to feel better... Blehhhhhhh, no thank you. It would work for sure, I have no doubt about it. What is going to be the next big thing? I am off to the drwing board....

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#8
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 1:18 PM

Now wait there are STUDIES that show it works. (Paid for by the pill maker)

Studies ahow that spanking a kids is bad for their personality.

What studies don't show is the increase in the number of kids in jail who were never spanked.

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#11
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 2:53 PM

They also omit that attitude correction is immediate

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#2

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/31/2008 2:54 AM

An interesting concept. But personally, when my child was not feeling "up to par" I did my best to discover the root cause of the problem and treated that, not merely covered up the symptoms.

But then that would require parents to pay attention and physicians to actually treat an illness instead of just experimenting.

Allopaths receive a license to practice medicine: many are doing just that.

A relative of mine said once to a doctor, "Don't show me your diploma, show me your report card."

Cordially Dragon

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#3

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/31/2008 3:07 AM

Oh yeah train your children and they will not depart from thinking a pill is the answer instead of dealing with the cause rather than a symptom.

My parents gave us licorice, we thought it was candy not realizing licorice is a mild sedative, I still like it a lot.

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#4

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/31/2008 6:57 AM

A bit of TLC, damp flanel on the forehead, teaspoon of honey, would probably all word as well as a placebo.

How about explaining to the kid that most minor ailments will clear up in a day or two and it's your body's way of slowing you down to allow you to recover?

Similarly these stupid over the counter cold cures that enable you to go to work and infect everyone else are a plague on modern living.

I like a good spell of being 'poorly' (ah bless) and sleeping for a day and pampering myself...that terrific buzz when you can feel your brain getting back upto speed .

The body's responses are (generally) fairly sensible.

Del

(PS Mind I do like a big fat orange placebo pill too )

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#5
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/31/2008 11:37 AM

GA

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#6
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

05/31/2008 2:57 PM

Yes, G.A. Medications often cause more problems than they cure. But the doctors find it so easy to prescribe so that they can go to the next patient within five minutes while they charge for fifteen. We as stupid consumers, we are happy that something was done. We don't really care about the results that much.

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#7

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 1:13 PM

I can onlt aaume that getting the (BGH) Bovine Growth Hormones and other hormones directly added or accidently add to our food supply is out of the question. Or just giveing the kids a lot of room. Heck we have FREE RANGE CHICKEN can't we hace free range kids?

I remember my childhood and after reading this I talked with several people in the same 56 years age range.

None of us can remember being so sad or hurt that it affected our lives much. We got over stuff really fast. We were then back hard at it exploring our world, trying new things, playing and just being a kid.

Today parent are ready to jump and take a kids temp if he just slows down to take a deep breath. Too many food additives, lack of excerise, no free time away from adult, just plain over burdening the child with adult crap.

At 6 years old I would disappear from home around 8:00 in the morning if not earlier in the sumnmer time and would only retunr home when mom and dad let out a shout that could be heard miles away. Our doors were never locked. I have not lloked my doors here in over 20 years. Actually I do not know where the house keys are haven't seen them in years.

My kids run the farm, up into the national forrest, ride bike into town and disappear to the swimming hole at the creek. They build forts, set up car alternators along the creek to make electric power for light so they can camp by the creek.

The wife (a city girl) freaks out and runs around sneaking up to observe them constantly. I have no idea what she hope to find except kids being kids. My grandfather had the best advice he said "Leave them kids alone and let them grow up. They will let you know when they need you."

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#9
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 1:35 PM

G. A. I let my son grow up in pretty much the same way. He is seventeen now and pretty well adjusted and healthy as a horse.

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#10

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 2:17 PM

The problem, dadw5kids, is that when you live in a town (hmmmmm, actually city would be the correct word) with a vast amount of people is who do you trust more? I raised my oldest (he will be 20 this year) to always be wary on the road when riding bikes and getting around but he was still not capable, in my eyes, of getting around the way that I did when I was younger. I used to regularly go on all day bike rides and cover 40-50 miles a day on my bike, not even telling anyone where I was off to when I left in the a.m. My younger cubs, 12 and 3, are going to be getting the same view that I imparted to the older cub. The problem with all of this is that people nowadays DO not watch out for kids on/around/by(?) the road on bikes. I guess it is a case of not trusting those "other" people out there that I have a problem with... Everyone is in a rush (it seems), there are the child molestors (middle cub is a girl) to worry about... there is regularly blurbs on the news about person(s) trying to force a young girl into their car in order to kidnap them . Drugs, alcohol, you name it the problems were around when I was a kid ( I am 40), just there are SOOOOOO many more people doing it these days.

I guess the answer would be to move to a small town environment, huh? Being an Electrician, I kinda need to stay near a town where the work is... I guess the answer would be to move away and then commute, huh?

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 2:58 PM

Your opinion of work availability in rural settings is skewed and may compromise your perspective.

Every community needed an electrician or two and electricians do retire or move about, you maybe surprised.

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#13
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 3:10 PM

Yes, I know. Sorry... I know that electricians are "needed" in every community. I guess I need to sit down and look at cost of living and everything in areas and wages etc. inorder to figure where to look at, huh?

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#14
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 3:47 PM

Your state information or relocation information online guide should compile information for you, fill in the blanks and see what pops out.

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#15
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 5:20 PM

You are right that there are dangers associated to denser populations. Although, I believe that the risks of accidents or bad encounters are not much higher than they used to be. It is simply that the medias broadcast every cases over and over and over... This makes us feel like it is a jungle out there...

Yes, the community spirit is not what it used to be but I am not ready to accept that the incidence of accidents per thousands kids is that much higher than forty years ago. We just ear about it much more. As for child molesting, it is probably less as the victims talk about it nowadays.

That being said, I am much more protective of my children than my parents were of us. Fear wins over logic almost all the time.

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#16
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 6:29 PM

Better a proactive approach yeper.

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#17
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/01/2008 10:57 PM

Well thats what I did move. I had refitted a 103ft Ketch with freezers and has sailed for years between the Bahamas and Coco Beach hauling frozen lobster up and everything from toilet paper to light bulbs back.

I gave all that freedom and great income for them to have what I had. I did buy a farm with lots of water so that made the move easier. I don't sweat the droughts I have a cave with a lake that is so deep divers have yet to find the bottom. I may bottle cave water soon. LOL

But here they still take the evening walks after dinner, Kids run all over and people will correct the kids if they are messing up too. I have no problem with a neighbor smacking one on the butt if he is acting out of line. That is how we were raised. It does take a community that cares.

Good Luck in the city, I worked in NYC for 9 years so I have been there but with no kids to worry about. My little girl was the last to come along so she gets a little extra attention but I still try and get her out there exploring when momma isn't hoovering.

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#18
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/02/2008 2:08 AM

mmmm cave water with bat crap my fave

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#20
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/08/2008 10:49 PM

LOL Just saw this one. Actually no bats. The cave mouth is really high and shallow to get to the lake in the back you have to dive underwater in several places and swim through tight little areas to get to the opening where you climb up about 60 feet then come to a large open area the drop more than 90 feet down.

There is a lake with near white sand around it with blind fish. I have no idea what they eat.

How someone ever thought of diving down and between the rocks where the water presents itself at the mouth of the cave is beyond me. But they did. I was scared to death the first time I went in there. Got trapped under water 3 or 4 times was really scary. The water is so cold it will numb your body in no time.

The boys and I have chiseled away many of the tight areas an opened it up so we only have to go under water in 3 places and we have a rope in there to guide us through.

I have thought of bottling it as a last resort to make money. Keeping my options open.

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#21
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/09/2008 3:38 AM

Hey you could make money by opening a small holiday site with a few cabins for semi retired Cats... those blind fish sound tasty and easy to catch.

Del

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#19
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Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

06/02/2008 11:19 AM

I may bottle cave water soon. LOL

Yeah Fiji needs competition

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#22

Re: Trick Your Kids Into Feeling Better

09/28/2012 4:57 PM

This article, this teddy bear...Thanks

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