Is commonly used for pain and fever in children.
A new study published in The Lancet finds that children given acetaminophen (paracetamol) during the first year of life are more likely to develop asthma. According to researchers, Acetaminophen significantly increases the risk, and severity, of asthma in children. Acetaminophen is available by itself or in nonprescription and prescription-only combination products used to relieve pain and the symptoms associated with colds and flu.
In addition the study found drug is linked to significantly higher risk of children age 6 to 7 developing rhinoconjunctivitis (about 32 percent) and eczema ( about 18 percent).
The results “suggest that acetaminophen use is a risk factor for asthma and may explain why asthma has become more common,” said lead researcher Dr. Richard Beasley, from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand in Wellington in a podcast on The Lancet.
Dr. Beasly noted that western English speaking countries, where Acetaminophen is used more common, the prevelance of childhod asthma is greater, and that as the use of the drug has increased over the last 30-40 years, the occurrence of childhood asthma has increased.
For the study, researchers collected data on 205,000 children from 31 countries. Acetaminophen given during the first year of life increased the risk of developing asthma at ages6 to 7 years old by 46 percent. The risk jumps to 300 percent for children given high doses of acetaminophen within the past year, and 61 percent for moderate doses of the drug.