Sunday, May 3, 2015

Acetaminophen Blunts Both Positive And Negative Emotions

MyAchingKnees comment: I have never been much of an acetaminophen user. I have abused Ibuprofen and Aspirin, but very little Tylenol. This article just goes to show the consumer that they must exert individual responsibility for all medications, OTC or prescription or anything, that they take. This article is on a possible side effects of Acetaminophen, by Amy Capetta posted on Yahoo! Health.

An over-the-counter med for everyday aches and pains may be taking away more than just your physical discomfort.

Researchers from The Ohio State University studied the possible side effects from acetaminophen — the most common active ingredient in pain relievers and the main ingredient in Tylenol — and discovered that it can blunt emotions and even reduce the degree of positive and negative feelings.

Approximately 52 million Americans — nearly one-quarter of adults — use a med that contains acetaminophen each week. While this drug has been an approved form of medication for over 70 years in the United States and is found in over 600 medicines, this is the first news of this mind-based side effect, which has been published in the journal Psychological Science.

Study experts gathered 82 college students and split the group down the middle — half were given a dose of acetaminophen while the others were handed a placebo. One hour later — once the drugs took effect — all of the participants were asked to look at 40 images that ranged from extremely unpleasant (crying, malnourished children) to the neutral (a cow in a field) to the very pleasant (young children playing with cats). These “special” photos are used by researchers around the globe in order to evoke emotional responses from their subjects.

The students were first asked to rate how positive or negative the images were using a scale of -5 (extremely negative) to +5 (extremely positive). They were then asked to look at the same pictures again and rate the level of emotion each photo induced, from 0 (little or no emotion) to 10 (extreme amount of emotion).

The participants who were given acetaminophen had a less extreme reaction to all of the photos, compared to those who took the placebo. The positive images were not viewed as positively and the negative photos weren’t seen as negative. Their emotional reactions resulted in the same fashion — they didn’t feel strongly about any of photos, reporting an average level of emotion of 5.85 when they looked at the extreme images.

The same results were found again after researchers conducted a second similar study using another group of 85 adults.

“Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever,” stated Geoffrey Durso, lead study author.

This discovery supports a more recent theory, which states that certain biochemical factors may be responsible for the levels of highs and lows we may experience during both positive and negative occurrences (i.e. getting married or getting a divorce). “There is accumulating evidence that some people are more sensitive to big life events of all kinds, rather than just vulnerable to bad events,” Durso said.

So when you’re having one of “those” days when your emotions have gotten the best of you, will taking two Tylenol relieve your headache and muscle tension, along with taking the edge off?

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