Recent medical studies reveal that acetaminophen, the main ingredient of the popular pain reliever drug Tylenol, has the ability to deaden not just the person’s sensation to physical pain but also to psychological pain. Acetaminophen used to treat headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds and fevers for more than 70 years was clinically proven to reduce its user’s actual feeling of positive emotions.
This is the first time that this side effect has been discovered in more than 70 years. This breakthrough disclosed that rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever according to Geoffrey Durso, lead author at the Ohio State University.
The first human subject research involved 82 college students, half of whom took an acute dose of acetaminophen while the other half took an inactive “look-alike” drug of the acetaminophen. The subjects were allowed to view 40 photographs used by researchers around the world to obtain emotional responses.
The results show that the human subjects who took the pain reliever didn’t appear to know they were reacting differently since the drug component changes how people judge the magnitude of their emotions according to Baldwin Way, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University; they all rated all the photographs less extremely than those who took the placebo. A second study was conducted; the process required the 85 human subjects to view the same photos and to ascertain how much blue they saw in each photo.
The result were the same as in the earlier study conducted. However, the participants’ assessments as to the blue color content were the same regardless of whether the subjects took the acetaminophen or not.
Currently, the researchers are oblivious to the fact if other pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen posses the same side effect as that of acetaminophen; they, however, intend to conduct another study relative to that concern.