How paracetamol makes you forget about your pain, and that of others

How paracetamol makes you forget about your pain, and that of others

The use of paracetamol, along with ibuprofen and the legendary omeprazole, are the order of the day.

They are drugs highly studied for their enormous use without a prescription, but we should not think that they will have the effects of a caramel. Overdoses are dangerous, and taking them without proper medical follow-up can cause serious problems.

We think we know how functional and when the use of paracetamol, ibuprofen or omeprazole can cause problems for us. However, experience and different scientific studies increasingly yield more data than previously unknown, and side effects that either we did not see before or we did not give them the importance they had. Something like this has happened with paracetamol, according to a recent study published in Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience by the Ohio State University.

Caution: The use of paracetamol does not only reduce your pain

According to the study findings, the use of acetaminophen would not only reduce pain for those who consume it, but could also Reduce Something Else: Ties It For The Physical And Emotional Pain Of Others. At least, that is what Dominik Mischkowski, Baldwin Way and their colleagues from the Ohio State University, who detected that those participants who had consumed paracetamol, after knowing the misfortunes of others, seemed to experience less pain and suffering for them than if they had not taken any drug.

On the other hand, it should be noted that Way and his colleagues had already delved into some similar effects on the use of paracetamol. In a previous study, researchers showed that consuming this pain reliever could alter positive emotions such as joy. Taken together, both studies suggest that although acetaminophen or acetaminophen is an extremely popular and widely used drug in the West, there are still things we don’t know about it.

Acetaminophen, a pain reliever that alters human psychology

For their research, this group of scientists performed two different experiments.

At first experiment 80 university students participated; half of them consumed a liquid with 1 gram of paracetamol (the standard dose of an adult), while the other half consumed a placebo. Neither of them knew which group he belonged to exactly. After an hour, participants read eight short scenarios about people who had suffered some type of pain (a cut from a knife, someone experiencing the death of a family member) and rated each person’s pain from 1 (little pain) to 5 (much pain). Usually, those who had consumed paracetamol classified the pain of others as less severe than those who had taken placebo.

In a second experiment where 114 university students participated, divided equally as in the previous experiment, the volunteers underwent four two-second explosions of white noise of between 75 and 105 decibels, which they evaluated from 1 (not unpleasant) to 10 (very unpleasant). In addition, they were asked to imagine how much pain the same explosions would cause other participants in the same study. Again, those who took acetaminophen rated the pain as less unpleasant to themselves and others.

The researchers intend to continue investigating why the use of paracetamol has these effects on human emotions. But, in addition, they already have in mind to study other types of common pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.

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