New study says paracetamol could harm male foetus
A new study by scientists at the University of Edinburgh , published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, has found that taking paracetamol during pregnancy for prolonged periods could possibly have effects on the development of a male foetus in the womb.
To conduct the study, researchers grafted a mouse with human testicular tissue, and gave them doses of the drug, and found that over the course of a week, the drug significantly lowered the levels of testosterone present.
The researchers noted that paracetamol taken for a day had no effect on testosterone levels, but treatment three times a day for a week saw the levels of testosterone to reduce by 45 percent.
Dr Rod Mitchell, of the University of Edinburgh, and the study’s lead author said: “This study adds to existing evidence that prolonged use of paracetamol in pregnancy may increase the risk of reproductive disorders in male babies.”
“Paracetamol is an effective painkiller and effective in lowering temperature. We don’t want pregnant women to be suffering from those things, but we have to recognise that in situations where often paracetamol is taken without a second thought, there might be side-effects,” Mitchell continued.
Although the researchers agree that it is safe in the short term, Dr. Mitchell still warns pregnant mothers to follow existing NHS guidance, which is to take it for at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.
“We would advise that pregnant women should follow current guidance that the painkiller be taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.”