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Acetaminophen use: A risk for asthma?

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A growing number of studies show that regular use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) carries a dose-dependent risk of developing allergies in general and asthma in particular and of worsening other respiratory diseases and lung function. The most disturbing finding has come from the population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, in which use of paracetamol—but not aspirin—in late pregnancy was positively associated with asthma when comparing children whose mothers took paracetamol “sometimes” and “most days/daily” with those whose mothers never took it. Assuming a causal relationship, the percentage of asthma attributable to paracetamol use in late pregnancy was 7%. In this review, we present data from the most important studies published since 2000. Although the pathophysiology remains unclear, the available data justify a warning to the general public that the uncritical use of over-the-counter acetaminophen can lead to the development of allergies and asthma, even in utero.

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Correspondence to Henning Allmers.

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Allmers, H., Skudlik, C. & John, S.M. Acetaminophen use: A risk for asthma?. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 9, 164–167 (2009).

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