Paracetamol and asthma

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Taking paracetamol regularly 'triples risk of asthma'

    By Jenny Hope
    Last updated at 4:29 PM on 17th September 2008

    Evidence is growing linking paracetamol to asthma

    People who regularly use paracetamol are nearly three times more likely to have asthma than infrequent users, says a new study.

    Other painkillers were not linked to the disease, according to the study organised by the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network.

    Researchers analysed the frequency of analgesic use in over 500 adults with asthma and 500 healthy people in several European countries.

    The findings suggest the risk of asthma symptoms is increased by frequent paracetamol use, at least once a week compared with less often.

    More than five million Britons suffer asthma, including 1.4 million children, and the disease causes 70,000 hospital admissions and 1,400 deaths each year.

    Some asthmatics choose to take paracetamol out of a range of painkillers available over-the-counter because they have a recognised sensitivity to aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) drugs such as Nurofen.

    The latest study was published today in the European Respiratory Journal.

    Dr Seif Shaheen from Imperial College London, and one of the authors of the study, said 'Epidemiological evidence is growing that shows a link between paracetamol and asthma.

    'Since 2000, several publications have reported this association for instance in the UK and the USA.

    '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 regular use of paracetamol decreases levels of the antioxidant glutathione, found in the airways and the nose, which protects the lungs from air pollution and tobacco smoke.

    It also protects against the harmful effects of free radicals - natural substances found in greater numbers in the lungs of asthmatics because they are generated as part of the inflammatory process.

    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.'