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Anxiety: Paracetamol

Question for Department of Health

UIN 214147, tabled on 10 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what information his Department holds on a potential link between paracetamol and the treatment of anxiety.

Answered on

19 November 2014

We are aware of a study carried out by researchers from the University of British Columbia and published in Psychological Science in 20131 that suggested taking paracetamol may blunt the psychological response to stress.

In response, NHS Choices advised that2:

“It is not appropriate to suggest that paracetamol can be taken for any possible effects on emotional pain and feelings of distress. It has not been formally tested or approved for this use. It is also important to highlight that paracetamol can be dangerous when taken in quantities higher than the recommended dose.”

1 Randles D, Heine SJ, Santos N. The Common Pain of Surrealism and Death - Acetaminophen Reduces Compensatory Affirmation Following Meaning Threats. Psychological Sciences. Published online April 11 2013