Placebo price tag impacts perceived side effects

Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017


People on a placebo treatment experience more severe side effects when they think its expensive, research shows.

According to the research published in Science patients who were told their anti-itch cream was more expensive reported higher pain sensitivity than those who were told it was cheap.

Interestingly, brain imaging also showed the patients who thought they were applying the ‘expensive’ cream, and reported more pain, had more activity in the prefrontal cortex.

The research team say their findings suggest it’s possible to study the physiology of the nocebo effect to design clinical trials that take it into account.

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