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Defending Choice in Medicine

What is the rebound effect?

In the case of some drugs, when a patient stops taking them there can be a significant return of the original symptoms, and abrupt withdrawal can even have fatal consequences. This is knowm as the rebound effect.


This response indicates that the patient's body is reacting against the medication, and that it takes a significant time for such behaviour to change, during which time the original symptoms are being actively generated by the body to a greater extent than before treatment. It is exactly the same scenario as is seen in comedies, when a door is released while someone is attempting to push it open. The more violent the attempt to open the door, and the more sudden the release of the door, so the more extreme the result.


As such the rebound effect indicates that, in those cases at least, the drugs are actively opposing the self-regulatory (homeostatic) processes of the body and encouraging it to increase the symptoms being treated rather than decrease them. This raises serious questions, such as:

  • Are all drugs which oppose the symptoms actually stimulating the production of those symptoms rather than reducing them?

  • Is it appropriate to treat in opposition to the homeostatic system of the body?

  • When a drug is 'successful' in treating a condition, what is the general process which has taken place?

  • If the effect of drugs is to overwhelm the homeostatic system of the body, what consequences does this have for the patient's future health?

These questions are particularly important in the light of the fact that homeopathy is a system of treatment which uses the reverse approach. It deliberately gives medicines which attempt to stimulate the same symptoms as those being treated triggering the homeostatic process to react against both the treatment and the symptoms being treated.


Related pages:

Why it works

Health and illness



Symptoms and homeopathy

Orthodox medicine

What are diseases?

What is effectiveness?


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