Regular paracetemol use triples risk of asthma
People who use paracetamol at least once a week are almost three times more likely to suffer from asthma than infrequent users, according to new research.
One of the authors of the study, Dr Seif Shaheen of Imperial College London told the Daily Mail: ‘Epidemiological evidence is growing that shows a link between paracetamol and asthma,’ adding: ‘We have also shown that asthma prevalence is higher in children and adults in countries with higher paracetamol sales. Considering asthma is a common disease and paracetamol use is frequent, it is now important to find out if the association is really a causal one.’
The researchers believe that regular use of paracetamol decreases levels of the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the lungs from air pollution and tobacco smoke.
Leanne Male, Asthma UK’s Assistant Director of Research, said: ‘Now there is data from across the world suggesting a link between paracetamol use and an increased risk of developing asthma, we need to carry out further studies to identify whether paracetamol actually plays a role in causing the condition.
‘This is particularly important because, if proven, it could potentially enable us reduce the number of people developing asthma in a way that other causes, for example genetic factors, may not be as easy to do.’
More than five million Britons, 1.4 million of whom are children, suffer from asthma, a condition which leads to 70,000 hospital admissions and 1,400 deaths a year in the UK.