A multifaceted behavioral intervention for pill-taking avoidance associated with Tylenol poisoning

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine



Document Type



Acetaminophen; Adult; Arousal; Behavior Therapy; Desensitization, Psychologic; Female; Humans; *Nonprescription Drugs; Panic; Phobic Disorders


Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Preventive Medicine


The effectiveness of relaxation training, imaginal exposure and in vivo exposure to pills in the treatment of pill-taking avoidance resulting from a fear of poisoning associated with Tylenol was investigated. Following relaxation training and imaginal exposure to vitamin consumption, one session of in vivo exposure to vitamin taking resulted in daily vitamin use. One session of in vivo exposure to aspirin and placebo capsules (substitutes for prescribed medication) resulted in consumption of aspirin as needed and daily ingestion of placebo pills. Interestingly, treatment effects generalized to leftovers and wine, two related phobic stimuli, without additional intervention. At three and six month follow-up, the subject reported maintenance of treatment effects. Psychophysiological assessment data were consistent with the subject's self-report.

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Citation: J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1988 Dec;19(4):311-5. Link to article on publisher's website


At the time of publication, Lori Pbert was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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Link to Article in PubMed

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