(RNN) - Two or three beers may be a better painkiller than the stuff you get in the drugstore, a British study found.
And beer definitely goes better with pretzels than acetaminophen.
Researchers at Greenwich University in the U.K. say they discovered strong evidence that alcohol is an effective painkiller. They also concluded the more beer people drank, the less pain they felt.
"It can be compared to opioid drugs such as codeine and the effect is more powerful than paracetamol (generic Tylenol)," said Trevor Thompson an author of the study published in The Journal of Pain.
The study compared 18 different controlled experiments that involved 404 people. They found that a blood alcohol content of .08, about three or four regular drinks, can reduce pain by up to 25 percent. It also increased pain tolerance a little.
This would explain why so many people who have chronic pain self-medicate with alcohol, Thompson said.
But don't think every day is suddenly Oktoberfest.
He stressed that long-term use alcohol as an analgesic causes more harm than good.
The strongest pain relief results come from using more alcohol than the World Health Organization suggests for low-risk drinking.
“If we can make a drug without the harmful side- effects then we could have something that is potentially better than what is out there at the moment,” Thompson said.
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