Wiley Logo Paracetamol or acetaminophen appears as a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer. It may be generally employed to gain relief from headaches and other minor aches or pains. A recent study suggests that children whose mothers use paracetamol during pregnancy have a heightened threat of wheezing.

As a part of the study, scientists reviewed all published randomized controlled trials and observational studies investigating the effect of paracetamol use during pregnancy on the subsequent development of wheezing and/or asthma in offspring. A total of 6 studies were identified and included in the review. It was pointed out that paracetamol used at any stage of pregnancy raises a 21 percent risk of asthma in children between 2.5 and 7 years old.

Even though enough evidence to recommend the avoidance of paracetamol during pregnancy is not put forth, women may take caution and use paracetamol only when required for significant pain or discomfort. Professor Richard Beasley, DSc, of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand who led the study and colleagues believe that the effect of paracetamol use in pregnancy is directly related to the threat of asthma in offspring.

The study is published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.