Painkillers seem to work better if you have unpleasant side effects


The placebo effect can occur if you experience a medical benefit from believing that you have had some kind of treatment, for example in the form of a pill, even when you haven’t actually received it

marcos alvarado / Alamy

Drug side effects aren’t usually wanted – unless it is to generate a placebo effect. Researchers have found that a fake painkilling nasal spray worked better when it was spiked with capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat of chilli peppers, so that it triggered a very mild burning sensation.

The findings suggest that a…

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