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Acetaminophen use in adolescents linked to doubled risk of asthma
Date:8/13/2010

part of the ISAAC program, two written questionnaires and one video questionnaire were administered to more than 300,000 13- and 14 year old children in 113 centers throughout 50 countries, asking them to quantify their use of acetaminophen (none, "medium" at least once in the last year, or "high" at least once in the last month) and their asthma, eczema and allergy symptoms.

There was a significant association between acetaminophen use and risk of asthma and eczema. For medium users the risk of asthma 43 percent higher than non-users; high users had 2.51 times the risk of non-users. Similarly, the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic nasal congestion) was 38 percent higher for medium users and 2.39 times as great for high users compared to non-users. For eczema, the relative risks were 31 percent and 99 percent respectively.

As this was a cross-sectional study, causality could not be determined. However, there is mounting evidence that suggests a causal link.

A longitudinal study on a small population in Ethiopia that examined the risk of asthma and allergies associated with acetaminophen use elucidated a temporal relationship between acetaminophen usage and the development of asthma and allergy symptoms, lending greater evidence to the possibility that acetaminophen usage may indeed cause the increased risk. This study will also be published online in advance of publication of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Moreover, in an earlier study from the United States, 13 and 14-year-old children with asthma were randomized to take either acetaminophen or ibuprofen after a febrile illness. For those whose illness was respiratory, there was an increased risk of a subsequent outpatient visit for asthma.

There are a number of biologically plausible explanations for how acetaminophen might increase risk of asthma and allergy. Acetaminophen may have a systemic inflammatory effect, possibl
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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