FRIDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Teens from around the world who regularly take acetaminophen, best known as Tylenol, were more than twice as likely to have asthma as teens who never take the over-the-counter pain and fever reducer, new research finds.
Taking acetaminophen was also linked to an increased chance of eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis, or allergic nasal congestion, in adolescents.
Because the study was epidemiological -- meaning researchers asked teens to report after-the-fact how often they took acetaminophen -- researchers said they can't prove that acetaminophen helps cause asthma.
But the study is one of several in recent years that has linked acetaminophen usage during pregnancy or childhood to an increased risk of developing asthma.
"We cannot assume causation, but the association was found in widely different communities, with widely different patterns of illness and lifestyles," said study author Dr. Richard Beasley, a professor of medicine at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand. "When you put it together with all of the other studies, clearly there is [cause for concern]."
Nearly 323,000 children between the ages of 13 and 14 who were participating in the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood answered questionnaires about their use of acetaminophen and history of wheezing, nasal congestion and recurrent, itchy rashes.
"Medium" users of acetaminophen were those who had taken the drug at least once during the prior year; "high" users were those who reported taking acetaminophen at least once a month for the past year.
The risk of having asthma was nearly 2.5 times higher among frequent users, and 43 percent higher among medium users than those who never took acetaminophen.
Frequent users of acetaminophen were also more than twice as likely to have rhinoconjunctivitis as kids who never too the dru
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