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Paracetamol: Current warning against taking during pregnancy
Paracetamol, pregnancy, ADHD, developmental disorders

Hamburg (October 2014).
The over-the-counter drug paracetamol is considered the first choice for treating pain and fever during pregnancy, whereas medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen are contraindicated, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy. Recent epidemiological studies now suggest that taking paracetamol during pregnancy increases children's risk of developing asthma later in life. This risk of asthma can also be increased by giving paracetamol in early childhood. In order to research the underlying mechanisms of these observations, the Research and Science Foundation Hamburg supported a project “Feto-Maternal Immune Cross Talk: Short- and Long-term Consequences for Mother and Child” as part of the research group at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf. in which pregnant women were asked whether they had taken paracetamol during pregnancy.
It turned out that up to 20% of pregnant women take paracetamol. In order to investigate the effect of paracetamol on the mother's organism and the unborn child, Professor Gisa Tiegs, Institute of Experimental Immunology and Hepatology, and Professor Petra Arck, Department of Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine, together with their teams, developed an experimental mouse model. Using this mouse model, the scientists were able to demonstrate that paracetamol has an influence on the development of fetal liver stem cells. These cells are important for the development of the immune system and disrupting their development can negatively impact the immune response later in life. At the same time, the teams led by the two researchers were able to observe that an increased severity of asthma-like symptoms was detectable in adult mice after administration of paracetamol during pregnancy. This project is currently concerned with linking experimental laboratory results and clinical practice and aims to investigate changes in the immune system in mothers who took paracetamol during pregnancy and their newborns. Using their molecular-immunological approach, the researchers want to put the results of the epidemiological studies to the test in order to, if necessary, specify guidelines for the administration of paracetamol during pregnancy.

Prof. Dr. Gisa Tiegs Prof. Dr. Petra Ark


1: Tiegs G, Karimi K, Brune K, Arck P. New problems arising from old drugs:
second-generation effects of acetaminophen.
Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Sep;7(5):655-62.
doi: 10.1586/17512433.2014.944502. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PubMed PMID: 25075430.

2: Thiele K, Kessler T, Arck P, Erhardt A, Tiegs G. Acetaminophen and pregnancy:
short- and long-term consequences for mother and child.
J Reprod Immunol. 2013 Mar;97(1):128-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2012.10.014. Review. PubMed PMID: 23432879.