Nocebo effect in Dermatology

    Sidharth Sonthalia, Kinshuk Sahaya, Rahul Arora, Archana Singal, Ankur Srivastava, Ritu Wadhawan, Hamed Zartab, Kripa Shankar Gupta
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    TLDR Negative expectations can cause adverse effects in dermatology treatments, like with finasteride for baldness, and careful communication can help reduce these nocebo responses.
    The document from 2015 examines the nocebo effect in dermatology, particularly focusing on how patients' negative expectations can lead to adverse effects, especially with treatments like finasteride, which is used for male pattern baldness. The review indicates that the nocebo effect is often encountered in dermatology due to the visible and unpredictable nature of skin conditions. It is noted that the incidence of sexual dysfunction reported by patients using finasteride is similar to that of placebo, suggesting a strong nocebo component. The document also discusses the ethical challenges of informing patients about potential side effects and presents strategies to minimize the nocebo effect, such as careful communication and patient counseling. The authors stress the importance of distinguishing between true drug side effects and nocebo responses to improve treatment outcomes and patient-physician relationships. Future research is encouraged to better understand and manage the nocebo effect in dermatology.
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