Acetaminophen Linked to Asthma in Children and Adults

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 by: Aaron Turpen
Tags: Tylenol, asthma, health news

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(NaturalNews) Acetaminophen is nothing new to NaturalNews readers.1 It is one of the most doctor-recommended drugs for fever, inflammation, and pain today. Recent studies, however, have linked it to asthma and some other allergies, the latest doing so with teenagers.

This new study shows that teens who take acetaminophen were more than twice as likely to have asthma than teens who do not. The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, involved almost 323,000 children between 13 and 14 years of age spanning 50 countries.2 The study found that frequent users of acetaminophen (using at least once a month) were 2.5 times as likely to have asthma than those who`d never taken it. Teens who infrequently (once a year) used it had a 43% higher chance of having asthma.

This study, by itself, doesn`t prove much, of course; being epidemiological research means it`s based on surveys of after-the-fact information. Taken with several others, however, it forms a part of a larger pattern linking this popular pain medication to asthma.

The same journal (AJRCCM) published another study that linked acetaminophen with adult-onset asthma.3 In this study, 121,700 women were asked about their acetaminophen use in 1990 and then medical records were cross referenced six years later to see which of those women had been diagnosed with asthma in the interim. For women who used acetaminophen heavily, their chances of having an asthma diagnosis was 63% higher than were women who did not use it at all.

Yet another study, also published in the American Journal of RCCM found that acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen were all linked to an increased risk of asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and a decrease in lung function.4

Another study, published in Chest in February of 2005 links acetaminophen with depletion of pulmonary glutathione and oxidative stress.5 Glutathione is one of the body`s primary detoxifying compounds, linking with toxins such as heavy metals so that they can be eliminated from the system. This would then suggest that some cases of asthma and some other lung deficiencies could be symptoms of a larger problem - the body reacting to a loss of one of its primary defense mechanisms in the lungs.

A further study conducted in Ethiopia found that there was a direct, dose-associated association between acetaminophen use and allergic symptoms and asthma.6 This study found that those taking three or more tablets in a month had an 89% higher chance of reporting nocturnal shortness of breath and a 90% higher chance of having eczema than did those who did not take any.

Still another study, this entirely by accident, links acetaminophen with asthma. This one used acetaminophen as a control in a study to prove a causal link between ibuprofen and asthma. Instead, the control group were the ones with the higher rates of asthma-related problems.7

There are literally hundreds of studies showing a link between acetaminophen and asthma, all of which were published in accepted journals. Yet there are, to date, no prospective, randomized, controlled studies that show a causal link between asthma and this popular pain medication.

Of course, there aren`t any that prove that the Swine Flu vaccine worked, that the FDA`s "food pyramid" is a good guideline for health, or that the school lunch program isn`t contributing to our children`s growing girths. But these assertions are commonly accepted as being true anyway. At least, they are if you`re a member of WHO, the FDA, or part of the school system. Evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

1 - Tylenol on NaturalNews

2 - Acetaminophen Use and Risk of Asthma, Rhinoconjunctivitis and Eczema in Adolescents: ISAAC Phase Three by Richard W Beasley, et al, AJRCCM, August 13, 2010

3 - Prospective Study of Acetaminophen Use and Newly Diagnosed Asthma among Women by R. Graham Barr, et al, AJRCCM, January 7, 2004

4 - The Association of Acetaminophen, Aspirin, and Ibuprofen with Respiratory Disease and Lung Function by Tricia M McKeever, et al, AJRCCM, February 25, 2005

5 - Acetaminophen and the risk of asthma: the epidemiologic and pathophysiologic evidence. by I Eneli, et al, Chest, February 2005.

6 - Use of acetaminophen and the risk of self-reported allergic symptoms and skin sensitization in Butajira, Ethiopia by Gail Davey, et al, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2005

7 - Asthma Morbidity After the Short-Term Use of Ibuprofen in Children by Samuel M. Lesko, et al, Pediatrics, February 2, 2002

About the author

Aaron Turpen is a professional writer living in Wyoming in the USA. His blogs cover organic/sustainable living and environmental considerations ( and the science debunking mainstream medical and proving alternatives (

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