New research carried out by the US National Institutes of Health and published in Human Reproduction has reported a potential link between paracetamol and male infertility. The study, found that couples took longer to conceive if males had higher levels of the drug in their urine.
John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive comments:
“There are several limitations to the National Institutes of Health study. The authors themselves have concluded it is unlikely that these results are caused by taking paracetamol alone, as exposure to environmental factors such as rubber, pesticides and colouring agents found in food, cosmetics and clothing, can also produce the same compound in the body.
“In addition, individuals were not required to provide any information on the underlying medical conditions they were taking the paracetamol for, which could potentially impact on the overall results. Experts in the study have made it clear that larger, more robust studies would need to be carried out to draw any firm conclusions.
“Paracetamol has been on the market for more than 50 years and is a safe and effective treatment for short term relief of mild to moderate pain.
“All OTC medicines in the UK are rigorously assessed for safety and efficacy before they are given a licence by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and once on the market, their safety is continually monitored in light of any emerging evidence.
“We would advise anyone who is concerned about the use of paracetamol to speak to their pharmacist in the first instance. Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and can provide useful information and advice on over-the-counter painkillers.”