Asthma & paracetamol: is there a link?

IT WAS an idea in an “obscure” allergy journal about 10 years ago that sparked Professor Richard Beasley’s interest in the link between paracetamol and asthma. 

“Paracetamol had replaced aspirin, particularly for children because of the connection with Reye’s syndrome, and with the increased use of paracetamol were rising prevalence rates in asthma,” he says from New Zealand’s Medical Research Institute. 

“The hypothesis was a bit out of left field, but you really felt that, hey, this may well be the link that we’re looking for that we haven’t been able to explain.”

Since 2000, around 20 observational studies have investigated paracetamol use in pregnant mothers, infants, children and adults and the increased risk of asthma. The studies have routinely found associations between paracetamol and asthma. 

Where studies differ, however, is in the degree