Will the Pill Really Make it All Better

   By drodriguez  Jul 06, 2008

Whether it be a kiss over a booboo or a colorful Band-Aid, we all have special ways of comforting our children when they are hurt or don’t feel well. A recent article from the New York Times describes a woman who believes she has the answer to every child’s minor ailments.

Jennifer Buettner came up with the idea of marketing a placebo (sugar pill) medicine for kids while she was caring for her young niece who was not feeling well. Her niece was laying it on a little thick and had an obvious case of hypochondria when Buettner was told by a relative to give her niece some Motrin since she believed it was the most benign thing to give.

Buettner found it unnecessary to give real medicine to her niece and decided it would be a great idea for parents to have the option of handing out sugar pills when their kids were exaggerating an illness. She calls her pills Obecalp (Placebo spelled backwards) and will be selling them by the bottle (50 pills) on her website for around $6 a bottle. She plans on coming up with a liquid form of the sugar pill as well.

As expected by Buettner there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Obecalp. Dr. Howard Brody, a medical ethicist and family physician, believes the continual use of placebo pills during childhood can be harmful. Brody says, “Kids grow up thinking that the only way to get better is by taking a pill.” Brody adds that kids may never learn that scraped knees and colds can improve on their own.

Buettner defends her product by saying she is not promoting drug use with Obecalp. She adds that “the over prescription of drugs is a serious problem, and I think there needs to be an alternative.” Buettner believes her pill can reduce potential harms from unnecessary medicines.

What do you think of Jennifer Buettner’s placebo pill for children?

Is this something you would offer your children when and if the need arose?

Make a Comment

justmefrankie by justmefrankie | Poulan, GA
Jul 11, 2009

I think this is a horrid idea. Not only as a parent do you know your child and dont want to give them the impression that you can "pop a pill and make it all better" but as a parent this would give all the power to a child. If my child isnt sick and wants medicine or is playing sick I simply say no! And that is free as well. Why pay and money to trick you child?

Salemsw by Salemsw | Millbury, MA
Sep 04, 2008

I think the pill is a bad idea! For the most part being a Mom you know when your child is sick and when there faking it. I know for a fact when mine are-Mine son always has a belly ache when he is 1/4 through his meal. But seems to feel better when the table is clear and ready for desert! Thank god he was grown out of that stage!

hotmomma by hotmomma | billings, MT
Sep 01, 2008

My mom gave me a placebo once as a child and I ended up feeling very betrayed. She asked if I felt better after my "medicine" and not wanting to hurt her feelings,I said yes. I didn't want her to feel bad knowing my head still hurt after she had given me something to help. She then proceeded to tell me I was faking my headache because the pill she gave me was only a sugar pill. I was about 9 when this happened and I still remember it almost 30 years later. I would not ever do this to my child. You are calling them a liar just by giving them a placebo. Kids need to know they are trusted and believed.

pianogoosie by pianogoosie | Winterville, NC
Aug 21, 2008

I think this is o.k. to an exent. I know many people from middle school who faked headaches every other day so they could stay home and then ended up getting horrible grades. I think if the child continues to complain even after the placebo, then you should take it seriously. But a lot of times with children/teens (I am only 19, so it wasn't too long ago I was in school) it is all in there head and/or they just want to get out of school. Example:How hard is it to fake a headache so you can get out of that Italian or Math test? I do not think this is good in every situation but in some it may benifit the child in the long run, so I think it should be used with caution.

GrandMaJo by GrandMaJo | JACKSONVILLE, NC
Aug 20, 2008

Oh GOODY! Let's all rush out and fork over money to LIE to our kids! Aren't people in general irresponsible enough as it is? Kids fake and exaggerate illness for a very VERY good reason. We ignore them! Think about it, how many hours a day do we (as a society, not individuals) spend with our children? My daughter spends less than 1 waking hour interacting with her children. That's right, less than an hour. I'm a stay at home mom with a 6 and 8 year old. I spend 2 to three hours a day actively interacting with my boys. Guess what, that's a lot more than the average working parent, but it STILL ISN'T ENOUGH! It's a struggle to do the right thing but folks, take a look at the gangsters. When asked why they join the answer invariably is "I want to belong". Gee, shouldn't they "belong" to their families? Moms and Dads? You can't belong to people who are smoking pot, snorting crank, dropping endless drugs, WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME, drinking alcohol, ON THE COMPUTER, WATCHING TV... get the picture? America is on the brink of disaster because the Christian ethics that Europeans came to America with were quickly obliterated by greed, sloth (look it up if you don't know what it means), pride, perversion, etc. First we destroyed the native people that we came into contact with, then we started in on the land, and now our children. What about honor, respect, wisdom, or perhaps most importantly, self control? We must have dropped in in the trash with the McDonald food wrappers. OH NO! Nearly forgot, we didn't drop that in the trash, we dumped it out the car window.

vgall003 by vgall003 | PEMBROKE PNES, FL
Aug 07, 2008

Why make your child think that by giving them medicine they are getting better. Not only are you creating the placebo affect but you are confusing the child. What if they get "hooked" on these completey fake pills? Then what. You wont mind it because they do nothing but to them they do something, or you've made them think so. I believe in a hug and a kiss.

melsy00 by melsy00 | TOMBALL, TX
Jul 24, 2008

When a child says he does not feel well and makes up symptoms there is usually and underlying reason for the "acting". Sometimes, a parent just needs to delve a little deeper and ask questions conducive to a good conversation. Popping a fake pill is NOT the answer.

dietpeppers by dietpeppers | EDEN, NC
Jul 24, 2008

No, I'm totally against this because if a child is having these 'symptoms' that aren't real, then there are other ways we can talk them through it. I am NOT going to give my kid a backwards placebo pill just to shut her up. What's that teaching? That popping pills are for everything? NO! We rarely ever take medications or anything in my home. I won't start now!

Jamie3 by Jamie3 | Naples, FL
Jul 23, 2008

Isn't this pushing pills!? Do you want your child to be a pill popper? You don't give medicine just because a child "thinks" they are sick. You give it when they are! That is the grown-ups responsibility to decide. It all starts at home! Look to the future - do you want your child popping oxy's for pain because Tylenol just isn't enough - or so they "think"!? NO PLACEBO, NO WAY!

sdgomez by sdgomez | Sandy Lake, PA
Jul 22, 2008

Wow - looks like the no vote took this one...

Coming from a family where most of us didn't take medicine until we absolutely needed it, I probably wouldn't use this product either.

But as long as its not something you RELY on, or a solution you go to right away, I don't think it's *wrong*. Any solution that is overplayed is dangerous, but why not use it to sense the severity of a child's illness. If the placebo is given and the symptoms remain, call a doctor. If the placebo is given and the issue goes away, let it be.

Just don't over do it.

sharman421 by sharman421 | TALLAHASSEE, FL
Jul 21, 2008

Whoa, a placebo! What a great idea1 I wish I had thought of that. She will probably make a million! NOT a good idea for children, however. They should NOT have the hypochondriac mentality at such a young age. And if they do, they probably need counseling, not a pill! But maybe for your hypochondriac husband or relative???

dizzyspell1313 by dizzyspell1313 | Brookline, MA
Jul 21, 2008

i agree. this is irresponsible and lazy. kids are already over-medicated as it is--we send the message that anything bad (or even just DIFFERENT) can be fixed with a pill. there are other ways to soothe kids' booboos and tummy aches than with a pill. we had a booboo bunny at my house--just an ice cube wrapped up in a washcloth shaped like a bunny--and it did wonders to make all sorts of ailments feel better. kids want the attention, not the medicine. chicken soup, a popsicle, or even a backrub and a kiss make them feel amazingly better. and i think it's awful for parents to start a pattern of habitually lying to children.

mommyof3ree by mommyof3ree | Las Vegas, NV
Jul 21, 2008

If you start children off early taking "medicine" to help with their minor illness your paving the road for problems. Kids need to learn to cope with a little sickness and not to just reach for a quick remedy. This is really irresponsible her.

lilmami08 by lilmami08 | Bloomingburg, NY
Jul 19, 2008

if you can tell that there is nothing really wrong with them, then why give them anything at all? do we know the side effects of these "sugar pills"? they could be hurting those children. if a child is exaggerating, tell them to suck it up and send them on their way..dont dope them up

GerberaDaisies by GerberaDaisies | Dayton, TX
Jul 17, 2008

Everything being said, couldn't a parent use almost anything as a placebo? This 'sugar pill' is great in theory (if ALL parents were responsible enough to use it). But, unfortunately, they are not. It will be abused because it is an 'easy fix' for parents who don't take the time to stop and find a better solution.