Half of all acute liver failures in the US are due to acetaminophen overdose
“Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers. Acute Liver Failure Study Group registry of more than 700 patients with acute liver failure across the United States implicates acetaminophen poisoning in nearly 50% of all acute liver failure in this country.”

Acetaminophen associated with a significantly increased risk of kidney cancer.
“In conclusion, the results of this meta-analysis of 20 observational studies provide quantitative evidence

Acetaminophen use associated with several different types of blood cancers.
“High use of acetaminophen was associated with an almost two-fold increased risk of incident hematologic malignancies other than CLL/SLL.”

Effects on the Brain

From painkiller to empathy killer: acetaminophen (paracetamol) reduces empathy for pain
“Because empathy regulates prosocial and antisocial behavior, these drug-induced reductions in empathy raise concerns about the broader social side effects of acetaminophen, which is taken by almost a quarter of adults in the United States each week.”

Acetaminophen Blunts Evaluation Sensitivity to Both Negative and Positive Stimuli
“Acetaminophen, an effective and popular over-the-counter pain reliever (e.g., the active ingredient in Tylenol), has recently been shown to blunt individuals’ reactivity to a range of negative stimuli in addition to physical pain. These findings suggest that acetaminophen has a general blunting effect on individuals’ evaluative and emotional processing, irrespective of negative or positive valence.”

Acetaminophen reduces social pain: behavioral and neural evidence
“acetaminophen reduces behavioral and neural responses associated with the pain of social rejection, demonstrating substantial overlap between social and physical pain.”

Acetaminophen attenuates error evaluation in cortex.
People have more of a careless attitude when they make mistakes while taking acetaminophen.
“Participants made more errors under the influence of acetaminophen. Cognitive control is constantly required throughout an individual’s day. Whether operating complex machinery, coordinating teams of individuals, or driving a car, cognitive control is important for quickly and accurately responding to everyday challenges.

Pregnancy, Autism, ADHD

Acetaminophen use in pregnancy and neurodevelopment: attention function and autism spectrum symptoms.
“Prenatal acetaminophen exposure was associated with a greater number of autism spectrum symptoms in males and showed adverse effects on attention-related outcomes for both genders. These associations seem to be dependent on the frequency of exposure.”

NIH-funded study suggests acetaminophen exposure in pregnancy linked to higher risk of ADHD, autism.
Exposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase a child’s risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.

Prenatal and perinatal analgesic exposure and autism: an ecological link.
“It is proposed that the use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) in pregnancy and/or early childhood may alter immune processes increasing the risk of autism spectrum disorder in susceptible individuals. In an ecologic analysis, with all the previously discussed limitations, a correlation was found between maternal prenatal use of paracetamol and autism spectrum disorder.”

Acetaminophen (paracetamol) use, measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, and autistic disorder: the results of a parent survey.
“Acetaminophen use after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was significantly associated with autistic disorder when considering children 5 years of age or less…This preliminary study found that acetaminophen use after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination was associated with autistic disorder.”

Do you need to find safer alternatives to Tylenol? Check out this post where I share my must-have herbs for your medicine cabinet.

For a shopping list of Tylenol/Acetaminophen alternatives for fever & pain click here. 


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