Share Warning - Taking paracetamol = losing emotions

A chemical found in the commonly used pain killer has been found to reduce reactions to negative and positive images

A chemical found in paracetamol could dull emotional sensitivity, a new study has suggested.

Paracetamol is commonly used as an over the counter drug to combat physical pain. However, researchers at the Ohio State University found acetaminophen, the main ingredient found inside it, also reduces how much users feel positive and negative emotions.

 “This means that using Tylenol (paracetomol) or similar products might have broader consequences than previously thought,” lead author Geoffrey Durso said.

“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever.”

Mr Durso and his team gave 41 participants acetaminophen and another 41 a placebo and asked them to look at 40 photographs used by researchers to create an emotional response. The photographs ranged from starving, distressed children, to neutral images of cows in a field, and to very pleasant images.


Participants were asked to rate how positive or negative the photograph was on a scale of -5 (extremely negative) to +5 (extremely positive).

They were then shown the same images again and asked to rate how much the photo made them feel an emotional reaction, from zero (little or no emotion) to 10 (extreme amount of emotion).