Unproven Methods of Diagnostics and Treatment

  • Matjaž Zwitter


Labels such as holistic approach or integrative medicine are often used to emphasize differences between conventional medicine and unconventional methods of diagnostics and treatment. Yet, such a distinction is not justified as it implies that conventional medicine does not serve the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of our patients. Both from the scientific and the ethical standpoint, unproven methods of diagnostics are unacceptable. Among therapeutic measures, many complementary methods may benefit the patient. On the other hand, unproven procedures as an alternative to standard treatment of proven efficacy often lead to deterioration of patient’s health and should not be applied by persons with a license of a medical doctor. A similar critical attitude is appropriate also for drugs which are still in an early stage of development. In this case, a clinical trial is the only acceptable option. If we really follow the interests of patients and not those of the pharmaceutical industry, the Right to Try legislation which allows the early use of unapproved drugs for critically ill patients with no standard treatment left is not acceptable.


Integrative medicine Alternative diagnostics Supplementary treatment Alternative treatment Right to try 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matjaž Zwitter
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia
  2. 2.Institute of OncologyLjubljanaSlovenia

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