Physician : The hormone melatonin has shown promise as a medication for sleep disorders when taken in synthesized form. Because the long-term side effects of synthetic melatonin are unknown, however, I cannot recommend its use at this time.
Patient : Your position is inconsistent with your usual practice. You prescribe many medications that you know have serious side effects, so concern about side effects cannot be the real reason youwill not prescribe melatonin.
The patient's argument is flawed because it fails to consider that
the side effects of synthetic melatonin might be different from those of naturally produced melatonin
it is possible that the physician does not believe that melatonin has been conclusively shown to be effective
sleep disorders, if left untreated, might lead to serious medical complications
the side effects of a medication can take some time to manifest themselves
known risks can be weighed against known benefits, but unknown risks cannot
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