Yes, this morning I failed to prescribe a patient any medicine. I didn't think the patient needed to take any medication for his back pain - I just suggested rest and hoped he'd feel better tomorrow. He agreed and left the clinic.

The pain was bearable and intermittent - it's likely the pain will ease itself. Besides, any medication has some side effects and abuse of medication is such a concern now. So, I decided not to prescribe him medication. 

On the other hand, maybe I should have prescribed him some medicine. He did present with a back pain, and he managed to take one day off work and came all the way to my office. Also, he do have medical insurance. I wonder if he regretted agreeing to take no medication.

Maybe he should have insisted that I should suggest some medication for the pain - I can't wait to know if he feels better now!

Do you think doctors should prescribe any patient some medicine, in addition to ordering all the tests and investigation?

'prescribe': if a doctor prescribes a medication, they say you should have it

'intermittent': happening occasionally rather than continuously

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  • @setareh

    Yes, you really have a point there. A placebo has no effect on pain, but some people may feel better after taking it. However, it's not advised that a doctor should prescribe a patient any placebo.


    Yes, you're right - paracetamol is not really a NSAID, though paracetamol is an antipyretic and analgesic. It sounds like you're an intern or a medical student. I'm glad we can have a nice discussion like this. You could write a blog on this (talking about your medicine learning)!

  • Dear Epector, some people get so used to the medication that they think they should use drugs to feel better. Placebo was the word i read in an article and it means that some doctors use some harmless drugs without their patients knowing it and some people actually because of believing in drugs effects get better. I do agree that we should try to use as less medicine as possible.

  • @Nadya

    Thanks again!


    Great! Professional comment! I really enjoyed the prescription. 

    In fact, the patient had already taken some NSAIDs before he came to my office. By the way, paracetamol is considered NSAID, isn't it? 

    I'm glad we're having a professional discussion. You must be a doctor, aren't you? Keep it up!

  • Its really impressive and inspiring you are concerned about your patient this way. Some physicians dont care about the interests of their patients but rather, they put their own interests in priority. They may prescribe useless medications or expensive diagnostic tests to satisfy the patients and hardly think of the pros of cons of their treatment in long row. Always proud of you.
  • @Luci

    I enjoyed this sentence '...till I can't walk or move.' - it cracked me up:)

    It's not that our hospital is running out of medications or we don't want to prescribe patients medication - I just thought no medication would benefit him. Thanks!


    Yes, I did tell hime to come back if the pain was getting worse. The thing is he can't come without permission, and he will have to take another day off work. 

  • It is always good to read from you!
    Okay, I think it is a quite great thing if doctors start not to prescribe unnecessary medications and tests. Sometimes, I know they just let the people go through which are unnecessary! I think, you also know the fact!
    But, I am wondering if that guy has been bearing the pain till now! So, you could have suggested a medicine which he could try in this case.

  • Expector,

    I think, your decission was alright! In my opinion, if pain is bearable, it is better to avoid taking pills. I myself usually postpone taking painkillers till I can't walk or move :D It is nice to see a doctor, who thinks of his patient even when he/she is out of his sight :) It proves, you are really good doctor with golden heart!
  • Hi Adaline,

    Thanks for the wonderful comment. Yes, I did everything except prescribe some medicine. I hope he feels better now!

  • Dear Expector, You did a good job. I don't think every one need medicine. Some times your kind words enough is int. It will make their pain ease and they will get that confident I will be ok.

    Thank yo for explain the two words Prescribe and intermittent.It's nice to learned it from you!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Well Done!

  • @Risty

    Thanks for the comment. I assume you mean 'traditional Chinese medicine' - in fact, I don't really know about it. 


    Yes, first, doctors should make sure their patients have been diagnosed correctly. Then comes the treatment. Some of the medications here in China are related to herbal medicine - while some foreigners prefer herbal medicine, others may not.


    Helpful tips!


    Yes, I may have prescribed him some medications if the patient insisted. In fact, the patient had already taken some medication when he visited the clinic. 


    Great! You really made my day:) I should have ordered MRI, which is a time-consuming and expensive diagnostic tool, though. Sure, if he comes back, I'll try to make sure the pain isn't caused by 'slipped disc', a condition which can cause unbearable pain. 

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