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May 12, 2016 08:51 AM EDT

Common Painkiller Tylenol Found To Have Weird Side Effect; Acetaminophen Numbs Pain and More

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A new study suggests that common painkillers that contain acetaminophen like Tylenol may numb more than just pain. It also numbs are ability to empathize with other people's suffering and pain. Acetaminophen is a main ingredient in Tylenol and other painkillers. It is also used in hundreds of medicines that Americans use every week.

A study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience revealed that those who took Tylenol have a reduced sense of empathy in addition to temporary pain relief. Researchers from The Ohio State University conducted two experiments to try to find out if painkillers with acetaminophen like Tylenol do more than just numb pain.


In their first experiment, two groups of college students were either given acetaminophen or placebo, US News & World Report noted. They were then asked to read literature about people suffering physically and emotionally. The subjects then rated the suffering from a scale of 1 to 5. They found that those who took acetaminophen gave lower ratings than those who took the placebo.

The second experiment involved more than a hundred subjects. They were asked to rate white noise on a scale of 1 to 10 depending on how unpleasant it sounded. Those who took acetaminophen had lower pain ratings compared to the other group.

Dominik Mischkowski, author of the study, says that pain may lower empathy in people, USA Today noted. However, he and his colleagues are investigating the effects of painkillers with acetaminophen like Tylenol further.

Baldwin Way, another co-author, also said that there are many unknown effects that painkillers with acetaminophen like Tylenol could cause. He finds that the wide use of the drug is concerning given their study, Science Daily shared.

What do you think of the study on the effects of painkillers with acetaminophen like Tylenol? Do you think taking painkillers can also numb human empathy? Let us know in the comments below.

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