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Study: Emphasizing a drug's side effects can trigger those effects

The "inexpensive" cream (on top) and "expensive" cream used in the study. Photo: Alexandra Tinnermann / Institute of Systems Neuroscience in Hamburg, Germany

Most people know about the placebo effect — when a person perceives, and then often receives, a beneficial health impact from a treatment that actually isn't directly addressing their condition. Studies have also shown people's perception of a higher-priced drug is that it will provide its remedy better.

Now, in a new study published Thursday, the flip side of that coin — called the nocebo effect — has been seen in people who reported worse side effects when given what they thought was a higher priced medicine.