Research Says Painkillers Block Ability to Feel Empathy

A new study now warns people from taking paracetamol before having an emotional conversation, stating that it blocks a person’s ability to empathise.

According to a report published in Daily Mail, the popular painkiller blunts physical pain by reducing the flow of chemicals that is responsible for making nerve endings sensitive. However, the new study finds that the chemicals keep on circulating in regions of the brain that control empathy and compassion.

The report cited an interview, Dominik Mischkowski, a psychologist at Ohio University gave to BBC, where he said that just like one should be aware that they do not drive if they are under the influence of alcohol, they should not take paracetamol before embarking on an emotionally responsive conversation. According to Mischkowski, paracetamol, or acetaminophen, warp people’s personalities by dulling their emotions, the report revealed.

In his BBC interview, Mischkowski further added that the effects of these medications in the broader context in not known, adding that “when it comes to the effects of medication on personality and behaviour… We don’t understand how they influence human behaviour.”

The study author investigated the effect of paracetamol in a study on 114 studies from Ohio University, the report revealed, adding that the volunteers were split into two groups with one half receiving 1,000mg dose of paracetamol – two large tablets – while the other was given a placebo.

The researchers found that people who took the drug felt significantly less positive empathy.