Acetaminophen May Be Linked to Asthma Risk
Study Shows Painkiller Raises Risk of Asthma; Manufacturer Says Drug Is Safe
WebMD News Archive
Calculating Asthma Risk continued...
The researchers concede that children with severe asthma may be more likely
to get acetaminophen for viral or other infections that may actually be due to
asthma or may precede an asthma diagnosis.
The finding of acetaminophen use and asthma is an association, they say, but
not necessarily a cause and effect.
The researchers say other mechanisms may explain the link. Acetaminophen,
they say, may boost an enzyme involved in the anti-inflammatory response in
There are other possible mechanisms. ''There isn't enough evidence to favor
one over the other," Etminan says. He says more studies are needed to fully
understand the association.
In a prepared statement, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, which makes Tylenol,
"TYLENOL® (acetaminophen) has over 50 years of clinical history to support
its safety and efficacy and, when used as labeled, TYLENOL® has a superior
safety profile compared with many other over-the-counter (OTC) pain
relievers. The well-documented safety profile for acetaminophen makes it
the preferred pain reliever for asthma sufferers."
The statement continues: "There are no prospective, randomized controlled
studies that show a causal link between acetaminophen and asthma. The
systematic review and meta-analysis published in Chest does not
establish a definitive casual relationship between the therapeutic use of
acetaminophen and an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in both children and
adults. In fact, the study investigators admit that their systematic review is
subject to several limitations, one of which is that diagnosis of asthma in
most of the studies was through self-reporting and the possibility of
misclassification of asthma with other respiratory conditions can't be
excluded. The authors also stated that additional studies would be needed in
order to verify their findings.''
Another expert said the review is strong. "This is clearly synthesizing the
studies that have been conducted over the past 10 years and is showing the
emerging evidence that acetaminophen seems to be associated with the
development of asthma and asthma-like symptoms in children and adults," says
Matt Perzanowski, PhD, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at
the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.