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December 23, 1992

Self-prescribing: III-Advised?

Author Affiliations

St Louis, Mo

JAMA. 1992;268(24):3431. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490240039019

To the Editor.  —My interpretion of the article by Hughes et al1 is that the 10% to 15% of physicians who self-prescribe enjoy a better quality of life due to the availability of appropriate medication than do their nonphysician counterparts. The suggestion by Dr Vaillant in his Editorial2 that tranquilizers and pain medications need to be accompanied by or substituted with "tincture of physician" is absurd. Rather, his Editorial indicates why those who have to get a prescription for sleeping pills from a physician tough out the occasional sleepless night, rather than seeking a consultation only to be harassed or patronized.Kind words and comforting touches from a physician are certainly very powerful healers. A conversation with a knowledgable, caring person may be needed by a patient as an entity in itself. Unfortunately, patients are not encouraged by their physicians to seek this, and physicians themselves feel uncomfortable