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The most consumed painkiller in the world pushes you to take more risks, according to this study


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Often used to treat a headache or in case of fever, paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, also promotes the adoption of risky behaviors according to this work.

A drug with little-known psychological effects

Conducted by researchers fromOhio State University, this study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience is added to the various researches which previously highlighted the unsuspected psychological effects of paracetamol, the most widely used over-the-counter pain reliever drug in the world. ” People taking paracetamol seem to have fewer negative emotions when considering risky activities “, highlighted Baldwin Way, co-author of the study. ” They are simply less afraid. “

Once the active substance was ingested, subjects felt less easily injured, felt less empathy and saw their cognitive functions dull. As a result, they were more inclined to take part in activities deemed risky, or to defend an unpopular point of view in a conversation. If these effects have been qualified as ” tiny hands nevertheless notable The researchers point out that more than 600 different over-the-counter drugs contain paracetamol.

With nearly 25% of the US population taking acetaminophen every week, reduced risk perceptions and increased risk-taking could have significant effects on society. “, valued Way.

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Revealing experiences

The team reached these conclusions after experiments involving a total of over 500 participants. First, the effects of a dose of 1000 milligrams (ie the recommended dose for an adult individual) were evaluated. It turned out that subjects who took paracetamol tended to judge activities as dangerous (walking in an unsafe neighborhood at night, betting their income on a horse race, or taking skydiving lessons) much less risky than those who received a placebo.

Performed on a computer, another experiment involved subjects pressing a key to inflate a virtual balloon and raise money. Each pressure leading to an increase in earnings but at the same time bringing the sphere of the explosion closer together, synonymous with the loss of all the money raised. Once again, it turned out that those who were given paracetamol were more likely to take risks.

While these findings are important and should be taken into account in future research on the compound, the study’s authors recall that paracetamol is considered essential by theWorld Health Organization and is the most widely used drug ingredient in the world.


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