“Warning labels can act as nocebos”

by Walter Olson on July 22, 2012

Perhaps there should be a warning label on pharmaceutical warning labels, since they can induce many of the side-effect symptoms they warn against [Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing]

{ 3 comments }

1 Richard Nieporent 07.22.12 at 10:08 am

The only thing that surprises me is that anyone would be surprised by this result. We are aware of the power of suggestion. If a person reads the label and sees a series of side effects then they will start thinking about whether they are nauseous or dizzy and are more likely to believe that they are experiencing one or more of those side effects.

2 Mannie 07.22.12 at 5:49 pm

There is a principle of life, that appears to be neglected in Law, that people are irrational, panicky animals. You can’t protect them against everything. Everything you do can get someone killed, including doing nothing.

3 marco73 07.23.12 at 8:58 am

Reminds me of a situation not too long ago with a new county courthouse building here in Florida.
One person started having “sick building” symptoms, within days, there were people dropping over at their desks, ambulances and TV trucks crowded the parking lot.
Finally a cleaning crew, dressed up in Haz-Mat suits, scrubbed the inside of the entire building. Several of the employees had to take an early retirement or disability, because of their lingering symptoms.
Nothing was ever found wrong with that building, but it cost significant money for the cleanup.

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