The world’s most common pain relief drug is linked to risk-taking behavior

U.S. One of the most commonly used medications in the world – and the most commonly taken ic Nalgesic worldwide – can do much more than alleviate your headaches, recent evidence suggests.

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol and widely sold under the brand names Tylenol and Panadol, measures changes in people’s behavior under the influence of common over-the-counter drugs, according to a September 2020 study.

In September 2020, Baldwin Way, a neuroscientist at Ohio State University, said, “Acetaminophen causes people to feel less negative when considering risky activities. They just don’t feel that much fear. “

“With approximately 25 percent of the population in the U.S. taking acetaminophen every week, lowering the perception of risk and increasing the risk can have significant effects on society.”

The findings suggest that recent research on the effects of acetaminophen on reducing pain in the body also extends to various psychological processes, hurting people’s sensations, reducing sensations, and even disrupting cognitive functions.

Similarly, recent research suggests that people’s sensitive ability to understand and evaluate risks may be impaired when taking acetaminophen. While the effects may be small, it is certainly worth noting that acetaminophen is a common drug in the United States, found in over 600 different types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

In a series of experiments involving more than 500 university students as participants, Way and his team measured how a 1000 mg dose of acetaminophen (recommended maximum adult single dose) rarely affected participants’ risk-taking behavior, given randomly compared to placebo. Is. For the control group.

In each experiment, participants had to pull an unfiltered balloon onto a computer screen, with each pump earning imaginary money. Their instructions were to make as much imaginary money as possible by pumping the balloon as much as possible, but make sure not to pop the balloon, in which case they would lose money.

The results showed that students who took acetaminophen were significantly more likely to take risks during exercise, compared to the more cautious and conservative placebo group. Overall, people on acetaminophen pumped (and burst) more than their balloon controls.

“If you’re at risk, you can pump a few times and then decide to take the cash because you don’t want the balloon to burst and your money lost,” Way said.

“But those who are on acetaminophen, as the balloon gets bigger, we believe they have less anxiety and less negative feelings about how big the balloon is getting and the possibility of it exploding.”

In addition to balloon simulation, participants also filled out surveys during two experiments, determining the level of risk in various fantasy scenarios such as betting on a day’s income in a sports program, jumping off a bungee high bridge, or driving. A car without a seatbelt.

In one survey, acetaminophen consumption was found to reduce risk compared to the control group, although in another similar survey, no similar effect was observed.

Overall, however, based on the average results of various tests, the team concludes that there is a significant relationship between taking acetaminophen and choosing a higher risk, even if the observed effect may be small.

That said, they acknowledge that the drug’s obvious effects on risk-taking behavior can also be interpreted through other types of psychological anxiety processes, such as anxiety reduction.

“It could be that people on the placebo are increasingly worried about a possible explosion as the size of the balloon increases.”

“When the discomfort gets too much, they end the trial. Acetaminophen reduces the discomfort, so it causes more risk.”

Exploring such psychological alternative explanations for this phenomenon – as well as investigating the biological mechanisms responsible for the effect of acetaminophen on people’s preferences in such situations – should focus on future research, the team said.

While they are on it, scientists will also have future opportunities to further investigate the role and effectiveness of acetaminophen in pain sensation, after studies in recent years have found that in many medical circumstances, the drug may be ineffective on pain relief. , And sometimes better than a placebo in addition to inviting other types of health problems.

Despite the seriousness of these findings, acetaminophen is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, considered essential by the World Health Organization, and recommended by the CDC that you should probably take it as a primary medicine to ease symptoms if you Seems to be coronavirus.

In light of what we’re looking for about acetaminophen, we want to consider some of that advice, Way said.

“Maybe someone with mild Covid-19 symptoms doesn’t think it’s dangerous to meet people if they’re leaving home and taking acetaminophen.”

“We really need more research into the effects of acetaminophen and other over-the-counter drugs on the choices and risks we take.”

These findings are reported Social cognitive and effective neuroscience.

A version of this article was first published in September 2020.