Scientists are now reporting that acetaminophen, the active ingredient in pain killers like Tylenol, appears to be the cause of asthma in young teenagers.
“This study has identified that the reported use of acetaminophen in 13- and 14 year old adolescent children was associated with an exposure-dependent increased risk of asthma symptoms,” said the study’s lead author Richard Beasley, M.D., professor of medicine, at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand. The research was performed on behalf of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). After studying 300,000 13-14 year olds, researchers were able to identify up to a two and a half time increased risk of having asthma from regular use of pain killers containing acetaminophen. “The overall population attributable risks for current symptoms of severe asthma were around 40 percent, suggesting that if the associations were causal, they would be of major public health significance,” said Dr. Beasley. “Randomized controlled trials are now urgently required to investigate this relationship further and to guide the use of antipyretics, not only in children but in pregnancy and adult life.”