Pregnant Women Should Avoid Tylenol

Mothers who take Tylenol during pregnancy may have asthmatic children

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Since the early 1980s taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) has become increasingly common among women during pregnancy.  This increase coincided with a doubling of the prevalence of asthma among children.

Tylenol is commonly used to reduce fever and relieve pain, including headaches. During pregnancy, most women are advised to only take a pregnancy vitamin and avoid any unnecessary medication.

Recent studies have found a direct relationship with pregnant women's Tylenol use and asthma development in the unborn child.

"There is a 21 percent risk of producing asthmatic children from Tylenol."

Richard Beasley of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, commented that the current risk of developing asthma symptoms are around 40 percent.

Beasley's research team reviewed six published reports of randomized controlled trials and observational studies and drew conclusions concerning the effects of acetaminophen use during pregnancy.

Their findings: Acetaminophen taken at any stage of pregnancy was associated with a 21 percent increase of asthma occurrence in children ages 2 1/2 to 7 years old.

Particular focus was on wheezing and asthma in offspring.

The Study

  • Most women in the U.S. take acetaminophen during pregnancy
  • The prevalence of current wheeze diminished as the children aged: 40 percent at age one year to 25 percent, 17 percent and 27 percent at ages two, three, and five, respectively
  • The association between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and current wheeze strengthened as the children aged
  • Beasley also observed without the asthma cases, health care, hospital services and prescription drugs costs would diminish dramatically
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 26, 2011
Last Updated:
May 2, 2011