|  Back to Start Page  |  Back to Practice Page  |  Search the site  |

Medical Services NOT Available



What we don't offer:


Trial of One"
Where a treatment is unproven or only helpful in some cases, it is often appropriate to undertake a "Trial of One", particularly when a significant cost is involved. This concept can establish the appropriateness of this therapy for an individual and help justify on-going costs, or more often may help demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the treatment and save money and false hope.

Essentially, one asks a willing helper to obtain the proposed treatment (eg bee venom capsules) from the source, and also to obtain a safe "placebo" that has a similar appearance (say a vitamin capsule) from your pharmacist. It is important for the patient not to know what the "active" treatment looks like, and to avoid trying to find out until after the trial. Either the pharmacist or the helper then transfers each "active" or "placebo" capsules into identical containers labelled "heads" or "tails", recording which product is in which bottle. It is also a good idea to make a list of symptom scores, or have a third party (spouse, GP etc) make independent observations. If the helper is to make the observations, they shouldn't know which is the "active" capsule (get the pharmacist to pack them).

One then flips a coin, takes whichever turns up at the recommended dose for an appropriate time (if the product claims improvement within "x" weeks, take it for "x" weeks, then repeat the symptom scores & observations. Take a week or so off (a "wash-out" period), then take the other bottle at the same dose and for the same time before repeating the scores and observations.

Only after reviewing the scores and observations, and a decision made about which treatment ("heads" or "tails") is better, or there is no difference, should the "code" be broken. Sometimes, if one cannot be sure, it might be worth repeating the process, perhaps for a longer period before breaking the code. Sometimes one actually feels better on the placebo, indicating the "active" agent has side effects, or makes the condition worse! After a scientific "double-blind trial of one", it should be possible to make a more informed decision about the place of the "alternative" therapy for the person in the trial.

|  Back to Start Page  |  Back to Practice Page  |  Search the site  |