Friday, September 23rd
1:30pm-3:00pm EDT


Topical Workshop




715 A

How Can We Mitigate the Negative Effects of Information about Side-Effects?

Information about side effects can create negative expectations in patients that cause a nocebo effect. This negatively impacts on treatment adherence, well-being and health care utilization.  Research has begun to examine how to reduce this nocebo response. One method is by framing information to balance the presentation of adverse effects with the expected benefits from the treatment. Another approach we have tested is to give patients information about the nocebo effect itself and how it works. This involves an explanation about how discussing side effects can by itself cause people to experience symptoms. We have found that this method can reduce the nocebo effect following expectations of symptoms from an environmental stimulus and in participants taking a medicine, compared to standard information control groups. Another important factor is media reporting of side effects. Research has shown television and newspaper reports can increase side effect reporting and intensify somatic experiences. These cases have highlighted the need for media guidelines to reduce the social transmission of nocebo effects.      


Keith Petrie

Professor of Health Psychology
The University of Auckland, New Zealand