Andrea Evers

Andrea Evers
Professor of Health Psychology and chair of the unit of Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Leiden University, Netherlands. And affiliated to the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition.

Use of pharmacological conditioning for innovative treatment startegies in somatic conditions

By altering physiological mechanisms independent of pharmacological agents, pharmacological conditioning can be used as a model to unravel neurobiological mechanisms of placebo effects and has high clinical relevance. Recent studies on conditioned pharmacological effects on immune and endocrine responses in humans are discussed during the presentation. Specifically, these studies show some evidence for pharmacological conditioning of immune (antihistamines) as well as endocrine (cortisol and oxytocin) responses in healthy subjects. Results also suggest that these effects even occur when people know that they are conditioned. Moreover, patient studies have been used to explore the possible therapeutic applications of pharmacological conditioning for dose reductions. A recently finished pilot study in patients with rheumatoid arthritis adds to this evidence, by showing beneficial treatment outcomes for the patients who were exposed to the pharmacological conditioning scheme. The results of pharmacological conditioning to unravel neurobiological mechanisms and offering innovative treatment options for reduced medication use are discussed.



Evers is full professor of Health Psychology at Leiden University and chair of the unit of Health, Medical and Neuropsychology. Evers graduated (PhD) Cum Laude and obtained several personal awards and highly prestigious grants for her innovative, interdisciplinary and translational research on psychoneurobiological mechanisms and treatments for somatic conditions. In 2019, she received the Stevin award, the highest award in the Netherlands for research with significant societal impact. She was also elected as a member of the Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Evers has diverse clinical registrations: she is registered as Clinical Psychologist (BIG) and supervisor Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. Evers is board member of the international Board IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain) SIG (Special Interest Group) on PLACEBO. She is scientific chair of the first and second official world conferences of the SIPS in Leiden.