April 13, 2024
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From: Sophia Lother

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MRI diffusion of the human brain.
The pain reliever paracetamol has repeatedly been the subject of various studies. (Iconic Image) © Image Source/Imago Images

Many people use paracetamol, but is it harmless? Studies show that painkiller can affect character.

Frankfurt – Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used painkillers in Germany. According to a recent survey conducted by the analysis of consumption and media (VuMA), a total of 17% of the more than 23,000 respondents said they had taken paracetamol in the last 12 months.

The pain reliever is usually available without a prescription at any pharmacy. The threshold for inhibition for many people to take a pill in case of pain or fever is correspondingly low. But more and more studies indicate that paracetamol could have enormous effects on the psyche.

Acetaminophen: How the pain reliever works in your body

Contrary to ibuprofen, paracetamol does not act directly on inflammation, but acts on the central nervous system. So far, the effect has not been conclusively elucidated. However, many experts assume that the drug affects specific tissue hormones.

These are responsible for causing warning symptoms such as pain and are therefore considered protective hormones. Painkillers interfere with the synthesis of these hormones, which ultimately reduces pain. But although paracetamol can be bought without a prescription, according to the portal gesundheitsinformation.de, close attention must be paid to the dose:

Paracetamol 1000mg/4000mg
Ibuprofen 400mg/1200mg
ASS 1000 mg/3000 mg up to 65 years, 2000 mg from 65 years
Those: gesundheitsinformation.de

The well-known side effects of paracetamol are listed in the package insert. Diseases of the liver and gallbladder are rarely to be expected. Skin diseases also occur with a frequency of less than 1 in 1000. Very rarely (less than 1 in 10,000 people treated) disorders of the immune system such as allergic reactions and narrowing of the airways can occur. As soon as side effects occur, a doctor should be notified. However, studies repeatedly point to additional effects. A long-term study conducted in the United States with over 55,000 participants concluded that acetaminophen can damage hearing. However, they had been taking the drug more than twice a week.

Acetaminophen: side effects and impact of severe overdose

Since paracetamol is often included in combination preparations, an accidental overdose poses a health hazard. According to the MSD Manual, many medicines for children contain acetaminophen, which comes in a variety of forms. “It may happen that a parent tries several of these at once or within several hours to treat a fever or pain without realizing they all contain acetaminophen,” according to the information portal. Although acetaminophen is relatively safe even in high doses, the drug is by no means harmless.

One Paracetamol poisoning it usually occurs in four stages with very different symptoms:

  • Phase 1 (a few hours after ingestion): Possibly vomiting. Many sufferers have no symptoms at this stage.
  • Phase 2 (24 to 72 hours): In some cases, vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain. Blood tests show liver dysfunction.
  • Phase 3 (3 to 4 days): Vomiting aggravated. Reduced liver function and development of jaundice and bleeding. Kidney failure and an inflamed pancreas can result.
  • Phase 4 (after 5 days): The affected person recovers or develops liver and other organ failure. This can be deadly.
  • Which: MSD Manual

Paracetamol: studies show that the painkiller also affects health and the psyche

More and more studies are coming to the conclusion that taking acetaminophen can have psychological side effects as well as physical ones. In 2015, Ohio State University researchers demonstrated in a study that the drug not only eased pain, but also feelings. Subjects were asked to rate the emotionally charged images. The group that had previously received acetaminophen rated emotions significantly lower than the placebo group.

Based on this, another team from the university looked at the influence of acetaminophen on risk-taking behavior. Several studies involving a total of 545 participants showed that those who took acetaminophen were more willing to take risks. They rated bungee jumping or walking alone in an unsafe area at night as less risky. According to experts, this could be due to the fact that the negative feelings of those affected are dulled by the painkiller. One of the study authors points out the negative effects such behavior can have.

Paracetamol – a study determines the influence of the painkiller on the psyche and character

Acetaminophen is a drug recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the treatment of mild coronary infections. “Perhaps people with mild Covid symptoms who are taking acetaminophen will choose to go out and socialize because they consider the risk low,” study co-author Baldwin Way told Ohio State News. Can paracetamol affect the corona vaccination? This is the current state of research. (Sophia Lother)

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for a visit to the doctor. Only experts can make the right diagnosis and initiate adequate therapy. The intake of medications or dietary supplements should be discussed with a doctor in advance.

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