Painkillers could reduce your emotional sensitivity, study finds

Tylenol
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tylenol could be numbing a lot more than your headache.

A new study published in Pyschological Science suggests that Tylenol and other over-the-counter acetaminophen products could dull emotional sensitivity.

The study researchers instructed 82 subjects to take a pill. Half of them took acetaminophen, while the other half took a placebo. After an hour, the participants were shown 40 photos, and researchers measured their emotional reactions. The photos included both sad images, such as starving children, and happy ones, including children playing with animals.

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The study participants who took acetaminophen had less emotional reactions to both positive and negative photos, describing them as "more neutral and less emotionally intense" than the participants who took the placebo did, Fusion reports. The study's sample size was small, though, so more research is still needed.

"This means that using Tylenol or similar products might have broader consequences than previously thought," Geoffrey Durso, lead author of the study, said in a statement. "Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever."

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