A new study has found a link between use of the common over-the-counter pain medication Tylenol during pregnancy and a slight increased risk of asthma in children.
A team of researchers in Norway used health data on 95,200 pregnant women between 1999 and 2008, and followed 53,199 children after their birth. The study included questionnaires filled out by the mothers on what medications they used for themselves and their children.
After measures were taken to control for various health and behavioral characteristics, the study concluded that prenatal exposure to Tylenol is associated with a 13% increase in risk for development of asthma by the age of 3 years. Additionally, the data showed that the risk increased as the use of Tylenol increased.
The goal of the study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, was to examine whether the risk was related to illness rather than the Tylenol itself. However, it was shown that the risk was the same whether it was administers to treat pain, fever, flu of any other respiratory infection.
“Based on this modest increased risk, there is no need to be concerned if a child has been exposed,” said Maria C. Magnus of the Norweigan Institute for Public health, and the lead author of the study. “It might be possible to limit the amount of Tylenol used, but mothers should not be afraid to use it when necessary.”
According to the Center for Disease Control in the USA, 65% of all pregnant women use Tylenol.