A new study suggests that the common pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) might ease the pain of social rejection as well as it does physical pain, according to reporting by ScieneDaily.

C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and his colleagues suspected that acetaminophen might alleviate the pain of social rejection, because physical pain and feelings of social rejection reside in some overlapping parts of the brain.

To test this theory, DeWall and his colleagues first compared daily doses of 1,000 mg of acetaminophen with a placebo during the course of several weeks and asked people to rate their social pain on a scale. Hurt feelings and social pain were reduced over time in those taking the acetaminophen, but not in those on the placebo.

In a second study, DeWall’s team studied 25 people who daily took either 2,000 mg of acetaminophen or a placebo and three weeks later played a video designed to trigger feelings of social rejection while rigged to a functional magnetic resonance imagine (fMRI) machine. Based on those brain scans, the team found that those taking a placebo had significant areas of the brain associated with both social and physical pain become active, while those areas of the brain in the people on the acetaminophen were less active.

“To be sure, our findings do not constitute a call for widespread use of acetaminophen to cope with all types of personal problems,” the authors conclude. “Future research is needed to verify the potential benefits of acetaminophen on reducing emotional and antisocial responses to social rejection.”