Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tylenol Can Fight Anxiety?

One never knows what one may come to. When we launched this blog, we could hardly forsee that Tylenol (or acetaminophen, which is Tylenol's generic form) would be discussed an an anti-anxiety drug. However, this popular pain reliever seems to be opening a new page in its history. According to new research which was held by Dan Randles, a PhD student at UBC’s psychology department together with UBC professor Steve Heine and their colleagues at the University of British Columbia, acetaminophen is able to ease emotional pain and fever just like it can relieve physical aches.

"Pain exists in many forms. It extends beyond tissue damage and hurt feelings, and includes the distress and existential angst we feel when we're exposed to thoughts of existential uncertainty and death, or have just experienced something surreal," says Randles. "Our study suggests these anxieties may be processed as 'pain' by the brain. Regardless of the kind of pain, Tylenol seems to inhibit the signal telling the brain that something is wrong."

In a series of experiments, volunteers were offered several disturbing tasks, such as thinking about their own death, or watching creepy movies. But first, the groups of volunteers had been devided into smaller subgroups, and the participants of each subgroup were given either doses of acetaminophen, or placebo sugar pills.

What was the result? It turned out that the volunteers who had taken acetaminophen expressed much less negativity than the placebo group did.

In the first study, one group of participants was asked to write about what would happen to their body after they die, and the control group was asked to write about having dental pain, an unpleasant but not existentially distressing thought. All the participants were then asked to read an arrest report about a prostitute, and to set the amount for bail.

It turned out that the control group that wrote about dental pain (something which causes much less anxiety than thoughts about death) gave relatively low bail amounts, only about $300. On the other hand, the participants who wrote about their own death and were given a placebo pill gave over $500 for bail. However, the volunteers in this group who took acetaminophen were not nearly as harsh in setting bail. (Do not forget that no of the volunteers knew which kind of pill they took.)

In the second study, the volunteers were shown the surreal and thrilling Rabbits by David Lynch, and then asked to judge the violence which had taken place during the Vancouver Stanley Cup of 2011. It also turned out that the acetaminophen group did not feel so critical against the Vancouver rioters as those who had only taken placebo.

"We’re still taken aback that we’ve found that a drug used primarily to alleviate headaches can also make people numb to the worry of thinking about their deaths, or to the uneasiness of watching a surrealist film... For people who suffer from chronic anxiety, or are overly sensitive to uncertainty, this work may shed some light on what is happening and how their symptoms could be reduced," says Randles.

Well, it may be. But we have to remember that acetaminophen is still very harmful for the liver. And taking Tylenol in order to decrease anxiety and improve mental health increases the worries about the physical condition of a patient.

However, the interesting fact that suffering from physical pain has much in common with suffering from anxiety caused by existentail fears, and both can be cured by the same chemical substance is worth considering.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tylenol vs Tramacet

One more compound medicine that contains acetaminophen as an active ingredient is Tramacet. The formula of the drug is 37.5 mg of tramadol hydrochloride and 325 mg of acetaminophen.

You remember, of course, that acetaminophen (APAP) is a name of the active ingredient in Tylenol, sometimes even called Tylenol's generic name (which is not quite correct as different variations of Tylenol may contain other ingredients in addition to acetaminophen, too). And again, in Tramacet, APAP acts as an itensifier of analgetic effects of the other substance, tramadol hcl. The problem with tram is that it belongs to substances with a very high addictive potential, being very close to opioids, such as hydrocodone or morphine. Repeated high doses of tram very soon develop a strong mental and physical dependance in patients. To achieve the desired pain relieving effects and avoid drug abuse, a relatively small amount of APAP is added to tramadol hcl in Tramacet.

You may compare Mylan's M P/T Tramacet pill (tramadol/acetaminophen 37.5mg/325mg) to any pure tramadol preparation, such as Pliva 616 50mg pill, to see that in Tramacet, the amount of the addictive ingredient is noticeably lower, while the therapeutic effects are approximately the same.

Brand name Tramacet is better known in Canada. By the way, you may easily hear the names of the two active ingredients in it. In US, the medication is distributed as name brand Ultracet. And again, you may notice "acetaminophen" in it. As for the first part of the name, it obviously marks "Ultram", which is a brand name for pure tramadol in North America. Every now and then, we come to the point of brands and generics...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Tylenol vs Darvocet-N 100

Now, that you know the difference between Tylenol and Darvocet brands (see our previous post), we may add a few more details to it.

Besides "regular" Darvocet (which consists of 650 mg acetaminophen and 65 mg propoxyphene hydrochloride), there is another preparation of the drug known as Darvocet-N 100. In place of hydrochloride salt of propoxyphene, the latter contains propoxyphene napsylate, a different kind of salt which has a remarkable feature of being insoluble in water. Moreover, it gives lower peak blood level, so the experienced effects are milder while the treatment remains as effective. At the same time, due to the fact that Darvocet-N 100 pills cannot be dissolved for making an injection, they have a less potential for abuse. Snorting them is useless, too, because propoxyphene napsylate has to go through the intestines (be digested) to become effective.

Each single Darvocet-N 100 dose contains 650 mg acetaminophen and 100 mg propoxyphene napsylate ("N" and "100" seen in the drug's name). The medication is commonly available in pills, such as MYLAN 155, or Mallinckrodt's M 1721 pill. One may guess that the medicine is stronger that regular Darvocet with its 65 mg of propoxyphene (hydrochloride), but, in fact, the effects of 100 mg propoxyphene napsylate are approximately equal to 65 mg propoxyphene hydrochloride.

An essential fact is that any Darvocet pill contains as much as 650 mg acetaminophen, much more than any Tylenol preparation, including Tylenol Extra Strength. As the maximum amount of acetaminophen must not exceed 1000 mg per dose, or 4000 mg taken during the day, one has to be careful in order not to overdose (an acetaminophen overdose is harmful for the liver).

Tylenol vs Darvocet

As we have already stated, Tylenol is a brand name while acetaminophen is a name of the active ingredient found in Tylenol (other name variations for that ingredient are paracetamol and APAP). Darvocet is a brand name, too. And acetaminophen is one of the two active ingredients found in this drug. So, what is the difference between Tylenol and Darvocet?

"Regular" Darvocet (the brand opposed to the so-called Darvocet-N 100) contains two active ingredients: acetaminophen and propoxyphene hydrochloride. Tylenol preparations always contain acetaminophen, either pure or in combination with other substances, such as codeine (in Tylenol 3), or diphenhydramine (in Tylenol PM). But in Tylenol, no matter what brand it is, acetaminophen is the main ingredient, while other substances are added to increase or prolong its effects. In Darvocet, we see that acetaminophen acts as intensifier added to the other active ingredient, propoxyphene.

However, the amount of acetaminophen found in Darvocet is noticeably higher as compared to any preparation of Tylenol brand. Even Tylenol Extra Strength contains just 500 mg acetaminophen, while in Darvocet we find 650 mg acetaminophen!

Do not forget that in pills, such as MYLAN 130, this amount is added to increase the effects of 65 mg propoxyphene hydrochloride, which is a strong analgetic itself. What do we get as a result? A strong pain killer, much stronger than Tylenol. Being so potent, Darvocet can hardly be recommended for use in pediatric patients, as even Tylenol 500 (Extra Strength) is not usually administered for children under 12 years of age.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tylenol in Percocet Pill

To be exact, Percocet pills do not contain any Tylenol, they contain acetaminophen. You may wonder about the difference... Well, Tylenol is a brand name for the substance internationally known as acetaminophen. Acetaminophen can be distributed under other brand names, too. And various preparations of Tylenol may contain other ingredients combined with acetaminophen (e.g., codeine). Brand names are subject to copyright. They are products licensed to certain manufacturers. Different manufacturers can produce the same medicines under different brand names. Drugs can also be distributed under their generic names (internationally known names of their active ingredients). Actually, each brand contains some active ingredients known under generic names, but no brand contains other brands.

Both Percocet and Tylenol are brand names. Both Percocet and Tylenol contain acetaminophen. Some preparations of Tylenol contain pure acetaminophen, some may contain other active ingredients together with acetaminophen.

Percocet is a compound medication that consists of oxycodone and acetaminophen. It would be a big mistake to associate Tylenol and acetaminophen in a direct manner, which could lead to a conclusion that Percocet may contain other substances in addition to oxycodone and acetaminophen (e.g., codeine).

And now, a little example. What is Percocet 7.5/500? The figures tell the strengths of active ingredients found in the formulation. In this case, they are 7.5 mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 500 mg of acetaminophen. Apart from brand-named Percocet, this combination is found in generic variations of the medication produced by several well-known pharmaceutical companies, such as Watson (WATSON 824 pills) and Mallinckrodt (M582 pills).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Acetaminophen Found In Other Compounds

We do only only find acetaminophen in Tylenol variations where it can be combined with other substances, such as codeine. Acetaminophen is a widely used active ingredient found in a number of other drugs, too.

The Top 3 of them can be listed as follows: Darvocet, Percocet and Vicodin.

In Darvocet, acetaminophen is combined with propoxyphene. In Percocet, with oxycodone. In Vicodin, with hydrocodone. In each case, acetaminophen is combined with an opioid analgetic, a mild narcotic pain reliever, increasing its effects and in this way relieving pain better without making the dose of an opioid higher.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tylenol 8 Hour

A prolonged 8-hour effect of this version of Tylenol is achieved by means of a specific two-layer structure of the caplets, tablets, or gelcaps that provides an extended release of the medication into the system. Each caplet, etc of Tylenol 8 Hour contains 650 mg of pure acetaminophen which is a well-known and widely used analgetic and antipyretic. The first layer in the caplets dissolves quickly, while the second layer takes time to dissolve and release its contents, so the patient can experience the results of Tylenol's action at once and then during several hours (up to 8 hours) while the medication is being gradually released into his or her system. As a result, the same 650 mg dose of acetaminophen is used more efficiently and there is no need of repeating it during about 8 hours, thus lessening the load on the liver and kidneys.