b. A negative placebo effect when taking the medication
The full extent of placebo effects, if they truly occur, is not well documented or understood, although a decrease in pain as a placebo effect has been demonstrated to some extent. To foster a beneficial placebo effect, it is important for all members of the healthcare team to present an optimistic and realistic assessment of the effects of the drug the patient is taking. If the nurse tells an anxious patient that the medication being given is not as strong as what has been given, the patient is likely to have lowered expectations of the effectiveness of the drug, causing a negative placebo effect. Lowered expectations do not mean that the patient will give up on the drug entirely; in fact, the patient may actually fill the prescription and then take more drug than what is prescribed in order to get a better effect.