Monday, February 6, 2012

Can Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) Cause Asthma?

Some researchers think that there might be a link between acetaminophen use and asthma in children.

Tylenol is one of the brand-name forms of acetaminophen.

Read on for information about this new research and links to further reading.

The hypotheses: Asthma has been increasingly on the rise over the past three decades. Researchers and doctors such as Dr. John McBride have hypothesized that there is a link between acetaminophen and asthma. (Read his 2011 research article in Pediatrics here.)

The trigger: How could acetaminophen contribute to asthma?
Acetaminophen reduces glutathione, a peptide that can help reduce airway inflammation.

The "Who": "A statistical link between acetaminophen and asthma has turned up in studies of infants, children and adults. Studies have also found an increased risk of asthma in children whose mothers who took acetaminophen during pregnancy.", says this The New York Times article.

The amount: For more information, please see the links above as well as this study report "Does paracetamol (acetaminophen) cause asthma in children? Time to remove the guesswork" in The Lancet in 2008, which looked at over 200, 000 children and the connection between acetaminophen use and asthma. Even children under 1 who had taken acetaminophen just once were 50% more likely to develop asthma later in life.

What to do: Remember: I am not a doctor. This post is informational only and is not meant to take the place of medical advice from a qualified professional. Before you give your child Tylenol, it is important that you first seek the advice of your doctor or clinical assistant.

I was shocked to learn that there was a much-studied (and evidenced!) link between acetaminophen and asthma, and I wanted to share that information with you. If you are considering giving your child a different pain/fever reducer, do not give young children Asprin. This can cause Reye's syndrome.

If I find more information on this subject I will make sure to post it. Please do leave a comment if you have found additional useful information. What kind of pain relievers work best for your family?
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