December 9, 2022

Nearly 100 scientists call for limited and conservative use of paracetamol during pregnancy


A recently released joint statement from nearly 100 scientists calls for the limited and conservative use of acetaminophen – a pain reliever known as paracetamol or APA, during pregnancy. Researchers suggest that the use of the drug has potential neurological and reproductive adverse effects on children associated with their mothers’ excessive use of APAP during pregnancy.

What is acetaminophen?

(Photo: Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels)

Commonly used to treat pain caused by menstruation, headache, toothache, backache, cold / flu, and to reduce fever, acetaminophen is best used for mild to moderate pain relief . There are many brands of acetaminophen such as Tylenol.

Also called paracetamol, it is the main metabolite of phenacetin and acetanilide which were previously commonly used drugs and is the main factor behind its pain relieving properties. Acetaminophen relieves various pains by increasing the pain threshold of the body and reducing fever as it affects the temperature regulating center of the human brain according to Britannica. Paracetamol inhibits the synthesis of prostaglandins that occurs in the central nervous system, but it lacks anti-inflammatory effects on peripheral nerves.

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Consensus of 100 scientists on the limited use of paracetamol or APA during pregnancy

The consensus published in the journal Nature Endocrinology Reviews, titled “Paracetamol Use During Pregnancy – A Call to Precautionary Action” summarizes approximately 25 years of published information ranging from systematic reviews and large-scale epidemiological studies to animal research on neurotoxicity and fetal development. . Researchers have presented strong arguments in favor of paracetamol or APAP increasing the risks of reproductive and neurodevelopmental problems.

Researchers write that despite some studies suggesting that there are no effects induced by paracetamol, a growing body of evidence suggests that APAP has the ability to disrupt animal and human reproductive development of fetal life. in the adult stage in both sexes, reports NewAtlas.

The scientists add that animal models show that fetal exposure has been observed in experimental data to cause disorders in the male urogenital tract via reduced expression of androgens. In addition, previous experimental models consistently show a disturbance in ovarian development that results in reduced fertility at the same dose used by pregnant women.

Taking a closer look at neurodevelopmental problems, scientists identify the link between prenatal exposure to APAP and behavioral problems in children, including, but not limited to, language delays and ADHD . The recent article points out that this relationship was “generally modest” with smaller effect sizes, however, given the widespread use of paracetamol, even small effect sizes could translate into an even larger number. of affected children.

Besides the 13 main authors of the study, the research was also co-signed by more than 78 scientists from different parts of the world. The recommendations of the joint consensus call for a limited use of paracetamol during pregnancy. According to the signs at the lowest possible dose and the shortest time interval would minimize the severity of the risks.

On the flip side, several experts who were not part of the study suggest that the new final recommendations could cause unnecessary anxiety about acetaminophen use. The study indicates, however, that the largest effect size the team detected came from consistent use of paracetamol for more than two weeks.

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