Placebo effect

New survey says it’s common for American doctors to prescribe placebos.

During your next visit to the doctor’s office, if you’re handed a script, you might think about quizzing your physician before heading off to the pharmacy.

About half of the American doctors who responded to a recent survey reported prescribing placebos to their patients on a regular basis. Released last week by BMJ, a respected medical journal, the study questioned internists and rheumatologists.

Here’s a look at some of the results:

Prescribes placebos regularly:
46-58 percent (depending on how the question was asked)

Believe the practice is ethical:
62 percent

Reported using saline or sugar pills:
2 percent and 3 percent (respectively)

Reported prescribing analgesics:
41 percent

Reported prescribing vitamins:
38 percent

Reported prescribing antibiotics:
13 percent

Reported prescribing sedatives:
13 percent

For more on this study, visit