New research, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, has suggested that using paracetamol during pregnancy and early infancy may be associated with asthma in infants. The observational research draws on information from a Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort study.
John Smith, PAGB Chief Executive, comments:
“The NHS advice on paracetamol is that it can be used through all stages of pregnancy, and given to children from two months old, to reduce a high temperature (fever) and relieve pain. This is supported by a large body of evidence from over 50 years of paracetamol use in humans.
“It is important to note that the findings of this new study are from an observational, rather than a randomised controlled study, with the results based on answers to questionnaires completed at various intervals over a long period of time. The limitations of this type of study are well known and the authors acknowledge that their work does not account for the amount of paracetamol taken or the severity of the condition it was taken to treat, therefore, it is impossible to understand whether the paracetamol was taken within guideline levels. It should also be noted that Dr Magnus, one of the authors of the study, does not believe that these findings should impact current guidance regarding the use of paracetamol in pregnancy.
“We would recommend pregnant women and those with young infants should always speak to their GP, midwife or pharmacist before taking any medicine, including paracetamol. It’s also important that pregnant women use paracetamol at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.”