Nocebo Effect


Several years ago, I began taking Singulair to help with my kitty allergies.

The doctor said, “You know what else would help with your kitty allergies? Fewer cats.”

Like a good American, I said, “Give me the drugs.”

Hey, I worked for big pharma and I still have great medical coverage. I believe in the power of science to change lives and raise stock prices. Now it turns out that Singulair may be causing depression, acute anxiety, and suicide.

Whoa. I’m naturally anxious and kind of crazy (thanks to too much caffeine and crappy genes), so I sat on the couch last night and wondered if Singulair is the source of my discontent.

Then I remembered the nocebo effect:

A nocebo (Latin for “I will harm”) is something that should be ineffective but which causes symptoms of ill health. A nocebo effect is an ill effect caused by the suggestion or belief that something is harmful. The term ‘nocebo’ became popular in the 1990s. Prior to that, both pleasant and harmful effects thought to be due to the power of suggestion were usually referred to as being due to the placebo effect.

The nocebo effect is not necessarily applicable in my case because Singulair may be causing problems in some people; however, I’m totes American and I’m willing to take the easy route and blame Singulair for all of my personal moodiness and anxiety.

I might retain a lawyer, too!

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