According to a survey by the University of Chicago, 48% of doctors said “they have given at least one treatment when there was no evidence it would work.”
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Placebo treatments included vitamins, herbal supplements, saline infusions, dummy pills and doses of medicine too low to be effective.
One of the most common placebo treatments was giving antibiotics for viral infections that don’t respond to antibiotics.
Unneeded antibiotics? Oh, what an awesome idea.
I actually caught a doctor of mine doing this. I was experiencing a crazy type of insomnia where I’d wake up every 45 minutes all night long for like, um, years. I finally decided that this was abnormal and went to the doctor to ask for some help. He said it was probably “stress” and prescribed something to take before bed.
When I went to fill the prescription, the pharmacist goes, “Ok, I could fill this, but its just half of a benadryl. They’re right over there on the shelf, and you can just break them in half.”
Oh boy, was I pissed. Actually, I’m still pissed! Rar!
UPDATE: Judging by the comments, I probably should have mentioned that I specifically told the doctor that I’d tried taking Benedryl (because it made me sleepy) and that it had no effect on how many times I woke up per night.