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Nocebo and its importance in clinical practice 

Nocebo and its importance in clinical practice
Chapter:
Nocebo and its importance in clinical practice
Author(s):

Helen Laycock

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198834359.003.0045
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date: 20 February 2020

The landmark paper discussed in this chapter is ‘When words are painful: unravelling the mechanism of the nocebo effect’, published in 2007 by Benedetti et al. This major review considered the placebo and nocebo effect in a more scientific framework compared to the previous nebulous concept of a placebo as an agent whose only role is was to act as a comparator for controlled trials. By expounding robust evidence, Benedetti added credence to the placebo effect with not just psychological but physiological data acknowledging it as an effective therapeutic action. Furthermore the importance of endogenous opioids and cholecystokinin in the mechanism underlying the relief of pain by placebos was put into sharp relief, giving an intuitive basis and scientific validation to this effect.

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