According to a new study, he probably doesn't. In fact, he rarely believes that the drug is to blame for your real - or imagined - reactions.
This familiar scenario was drawn yet again by a new study, this time involving 650 patients who had complained of a reaction after taking a statin, the cholesterol-lowering drug.
Many said their doctor denied the drug could be causing the problem.
Forty-seven per cent of patients with muscle or cognitive problems said their doctor dismissed the possibility that their symptoms were caused by the statin - even though muscle problems are a recognised adverse reaction to the drug. The problem can progress to a rare, and fatal, condition called rhabdomyolysis unless the patient stops taking the drug.
Fifty-one per cent of participants, with peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve pain affecting the extremities, said their doctor denied a possible connection to the statin - even though it's a recognised reaction.
Overall, 32 per cent of patients said their doctor told them there was no link between their symptoms and the drug, 39 per cent said their doctor said a link was "possible", and 29 per cent said their doctor "neither endorsed nor dismissed the possibility of symptom link to statins". In other words, not a single doctor agreed that the drug probably caused the reaction, despite the amount of research that would support such a view.
Research team leader Dr Beatrice Golomb from the University of California at San Diego commented: "Physicians seem to commonly dismiss the possibility of a connection. This seems to occur even for the best-supported adverse effects of the most widely prescribed class of drugs."
(Source: Drug Safety, 2007; 30: 669-75).