Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. Acetaminophen is used to treat many conditions such as headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds, and fevers. Acetaminophen may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
A group of Norwegian researchers used health data on 95,200 pregnant mothers between 1999 and 2008, and followed 53,169 of their children after birth. The mothers completed questionnaires on medication use for themselves and their children.
After putting various health and behavioral characteristics into consideration, they found that prenatal exposure to Paracetamol was associated with a 13 percent increased risk for asthma at age 3. The more Paracetamol the mother had taken during pregnancy, the higher the risk.
The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, was designed to minimize the possibility that the increased risk was caused by an illness rather than by the Paracetamol itself. The association persisted whether the mother took the medicine for pain, fever, flu or any other respiratory tract infection.
According to Maria C. Magnus, who is the lead author of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She said “Based on this modest increased risk, there is no need to be concerned if a child has been exposed, It might be possible to limit the amount of Paracetamol used, but mothers should not be afraid to use it when necessary.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 65 percent of pregnant women use Paracetamol.
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