New research is suggesting that, under some circumstances, there may be a link between administering paracetamol to babies – and whether or not they develop asthma later in life.
Higher risk of asthma?
“Children who take paracetamol during their first two years of life may be at a higher risk of developing asthma by the age of 18, especially if they have a particular genetic makeup, according to new research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress,” Scimex reports.
However, parents should not panic or throw their paracetamol in the bin – just yet.
The study group was small – just over 600 kids – and there are apparently other factors at play, with the link between paracetamol use and the development of asthma strongest in children who had a particular variant of a particular gene.
Further, the study showed an association between paracetamol and asthma. It did not conclude that paracetamol caused asthma – and researchers say more work needs to be done.
Read more about asthma:
- This is what an asthma attack can look like in toddlers
- A little wheeze or something more? 7 tell-tale signs of childhood asthma
- We can reduce asthma attacks in pregnant women (and their babies)
More research needed
Ms Daisy Dai, nurse and PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne’s Allergy and Lung Health Unit, and her colleagues looked at 620 children who had been followed from birth to 18 years old, as part of the Melbourne Atopy Cohort Study.
“Our findings provide more evidence that paracetamol use in infancy may have an adverse effect on respiratory health for children with particular genetic profiles and could be a possible cause of asthma,” Daisy said.
“However, these findings would need to be confirmed by other studies and the degree of adverse effect better understood before this evidence could be used to influence practice and before guidelines on paracetamol use are altered.”
We’ll keep you posted about further developments with this story.