One group of people are being urged to watch their intake of paracetamol, with experts pushing for warning labels to be put on packets.
Painkillers Could be Associated with “Adverse Neurological, Urogenital and Reproductive Outcomes”
Caroline Schelle – September 24, 2021
Pregnant women have been urged to watch their intake of common paracetamol, with international experts pushing for warning labels to be added to packets.
There is a growing body of research to suggest the painkiller may impact a baby’s development in the womb, according to more than 90 scientists, clinicians and public health professionals.
In a “consensus statement” published on Friday in the Nature Reviews Endocrinology, they outline their concerns and suggest more research must be undertaken to understand the effects of paracetamol exposure during pregnancy.
The authors reviewed more than 25 years of research, which suggested paracetamol use in pregnancy could be associated with “adverse neurological, urogenital and reproductive outcomes”.
A “consensus” statement about paracetamol for pregnant women urged them to only use the necessary dose and called for warning labels. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett
But Flinders Medical Centre specialist pharmacist Luke Grzeskowiak, who is not one of the authors, said the absolute risks of these were “low” and the majority of women who took painkillers would be fine.
“Thinking about numbers of women taking this (paracetamol) while pregnant the vast majority – 95 per cent plus – are going to have a healthy baby,” Dr Grzeskowiak said.
While there was some research to suggest there could be an increased risk of undescended testicles, early puberty, or neurological conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder associated with the drug, experts say there is still not enough evidence.
“If it was creating a big problem we would know about it by now,” Dr Grzeskowiak said.
Dr Grzeskowiak supported the authors’ suggestion for better and more specific research in the area.
“If we want better answers, we need to get better evidence,” he said.
The consensus statement called for pregnant women to use the lowest dose of the painkiller necessary to treat their issue and speak to a medical professional such as a pharmacist, doctor or midwife about any concerns.