Study: 45 percent of docs prescribe placebos

January 3, 2008 2:06:42 PM PST
Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that almost half of Chicago internists are prescribing placebos.

A placebo is a "dummy pill" often given to patients to make them think they are getting an effective treatment.

About 230 internists at three Chicago-area academic medical centers responded to a survey led by a medical student at the University of Chicago. Forty-five percent of the doctors admitted they used a placebo during their clinical practice. Twelve percent said placebos should never be used.

The study suggests doctors think expectation and belief have therapeutic potential.

More information on this study is available in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.