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Definition of Nocebo

Nocebo: A negative placebo effect as, for example, when patients taking medications experience adverse side effects unrelated to the specific pharmacological action of the drug. The nocebo effect is associated with the person's prior expectations of adverse effects from treatment as well as with conditioning in which the person learns from prior experiences to associate a medication with certain somatic symptoms.

Nocebo comes from the Latin noceo, to harm and means "I shall harm" whereas placebo means "I shall please."

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=31482
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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