Skip to main content

Study finds common household pain reliever may have a down side...

Acetaminophen, aka Tylenol, has been America's favorite pain reliever for decades.  It is one of the safest and most effective products on the market for as long as I can remember.  Many of us are aware that this medicine is generally safe to take.



There have been a few problems with this drug and related products over the years...I remember the early 80s when some Tylenol products on store shelves were found to be tainted with a poison and great strides were made to make the product line tamper proof.  We found out that there is such a thing as "too much" when it comes to acetaminophen.  There were recommendations put in place reduce the risk of liver toxicity.  

To this day, acetaminophen products are a large sector of the over-the counter medication market, and many combination products that are RX only contain acetaminophen as well.  If that doesn't make a statement, I don't know what does.

Fast forward to 2015.  A small study at Ohio State University reveals that this well-known pain reliever may dull a patient's emotional response to positive, upbeat stimulation. In the study,as published in the online journal Psychological Science, approximately 160 college students were involved in one of two experiments leading to this conclusion. In the first study, half of the participants were given a 1000 milligram dose of acetaminophen while the other half were given a placebo.  One hour later, all subjects were shown 40 photographs, each with the intention of provoking negative or positive responses.  The subjects were asked to rate each photograph as such.  Interestingly, the group of subjects in the medication group showed a dulling of both positive and negative emotions during the exercise.

In a follow up study of same design, the two groups were asked how much of the color blue they saw in each image.  (The study author's intent here was to see if the medication affected overall judgement as opposed to only emotion.) The result was that the medication vs. no medication had no effect on the color exercise.

The authors conclude by saying that their study leads them to believe that acetaminophen has a "reliable but subtle" effect on emotion.  They conclude that there may be more effects on the brain than these, but only future study will determine what those might be. It is also possible that other common medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen may have more effects on us than previously believed.

Sources: WebMd; Wikimedia

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Living with Chronic pain hits the big screen!

Been to the movies lately?  Jennifer Aniston is on the big screen in a recent release titled "Cake."
Her character, Claire is a victim of chronic pain...she belongs to a support group, where all of the members are coming to terms with the suicide of one of their members.  Of course, she also takes pain medication and addiction is another of her problems...and of course there's more!

I guess I am writing this post just to bring readers' attention to the fact that Hollywood has become aware of the crisis that is chronic pain.  This movie is a testament to that. People that don't have to live with this kind of pain don't fully understand the whole story.  Maybe this movie will shed some light on the issues.

Here is the official trailer for the movie:


Sources: prweb;NorthJersey.com;YouTube


Herpes As A Helper?

If you've ever had shingles, or known anyone that has experienced it, you probably know that chronic pain can persist following the initial attack (post herpetic neuralgia).  This is because the herpes virus seems to have an affinity for nerve cells.  And while it's not fun to have shingles or post herpetic neuralgia, the herpes virus may be a key in future development of delivery systems for pain management treatments.





Here's the deal--since Herpes simplex has an affinity for nerve cells, researchers are looking a genetically modified, safer version of the virus to deliver genetic material to damaged nerves.  In simple terms, once the genetic material reaches these nerve cells, it will hopefully encode these nerves to ultimately inhibit pain signals.  Animal studies and clinical trials in cancer patients have been encouraging thus far.

This is one of those developments that makes me believe that there is hope for those in chronic pain. Along with so many other exciting d…

The Knee Bone's Connected To The Leg Bone....

Two recent studies have brought a not-so-novel concept into the limelight-the concept being that people who present with knee pain often develop pain in other parts of their bodies.  These studies, known as the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study (MOST) and the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), were assessed by a Clinical Epidemiology Team as Boston University School of Medicine in an effort to find preventive strategies to combat this trend.




The authors suggest that knee pain may cause individuals to alter their gait in an effort to compensate for their discomfort. In doing so, the alignment of other body joints is altered, and this may be the cause of secondary joint pain, especially hips and ankles. The authors go on to say that the pain in these secondary sites is not necessarily osteoarthritis--perhaps bursitis or some other injury.

Osteoarthritis is a result of wear and tear in the joints.  We may not be able to completely eliminate osteoarthritis from occurring, but some common se…