Does Taking a Painkiller Make You Less Empathic Toward Others?

Researchers say acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, can reduce your pain but also reduce your ability to feel empathy for others.

Acetaminophen, commonly known by the trade name Tylenol, is an ingredient in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

Unlike local signal blocking painkillers, such as the Novocain used in the dentist’s office, acetaminophen acts globally to reduce the brain’s ability to process pain.


And the ability to feel pain, as existing research has found, is an important part of being able to empathize with pain observed in other people. This raises a crucial question: Does acetaminophen actually block empathy for other’s pain?


by R. Sam Barclay