Research reveals common pain reliever has psychological side effects


ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Fifty-million Americans use it every week. Now, a new study reveals the active ingredient in Tylenol could do more than just relieve pain. Researchers have found Acetaminophen may have side affects you may not know about.

“We know that pain is not a local phenomenon, right? If you have pain in your knee it’s not just there. It affects nerve receptors there but that moves to nerve tissue your central nervous system and parts of your brain that affect emotion but importantly that affect both positive and negative emotions,” said Dr. Holly Phillips.

Acetaminophen can dull your emotions. Experts have known for a while the drug could affect negative emotions, but with this new study, they’ve learned it affects positive feelings, too.

Researchers at the Ohio State University came to their findings by giving participants 1,000 milligrams of Acetaminophen and then waiting an hour. They then showed one group of people photos to make them laugh and another group, sad photos. When they compared their results to the group who took a placebo pill, they found the other two groups had less strong emotions.

Doctors aren’t sure exactly why the drug has this affect, they’re still early on in their research.

They say if you take medicine that contains Acetaminophen every day for pain, you shouldn’t necessarily stop, but you should be aware of the drug’s affects.

It’s also important to remember you shouldn’t take more than 3,000 milligrams of Acetaminophen within a 24 hour period and no more than two pills every six hours. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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