Tylenol May Take Away Your Headache, But It Could Take Your Empathy With It

Acetaminophen, most commonly found in the pain reliever Tylenol, has been proven to reduce pain, but there’s something else it may be reducing in the process: empathy. Researchers at Ohio State University have found that people who take acetaminophen don’t have much of a reaction to the pain and misfortune of others. Studies have also shown that the popular over-the-counter drug blunts positive emotions like joy. Empathy is important, so if you’re having an argument with your spouse and you’ve just taken Tylenol, research suggests that you might be less understanding of what you did to hurt your spouse’s feelings. Researchers are continuing to study how acetaminophen may affect people's emotions and behavior. They are also beginning to study another common pain reliever — ibuprofen — to see if it has similar results.