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Paracetamol use during pregnancy - a call for precautionary action

PainSci » bibliography » Bauer et al 2021
updated
Tags: harms, medications, pain problems, self-treatment, treatment

One article on PainSci cites Bauer 2021: The Science of Pain-Killers

PainSci commentary on Bauer 2021: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Wait, what? We’re just now figuring out that acetaminophen might cause birth defects?

Serious side effects, previously unknown, in one of the most widely consumed drugs on the planet?! That’s awful. And catnip for the medicine-is-evil crowd.

It remains uncertain, but this statement in the journal Nature is “currently supported by 91 scientists, clinicians and public health professionals from across the globe.” It is of course possible for a bunch of fancy people to put their names to complete garbage, but I doubt that’s the case here. At worst the concern might be somewhat overstated, but it does seem appropriate to apply the precautionary principle.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Paracetamol (N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP), otherwise known as acetaminophen) is the active ingredient in more than 600 medications used to relieve mild to moderate pain and reduce fever. APAP is widely used by pregnant women as governmental agencies, including the FDA and EMA, have long considered APAP appropriate for use during pregnancy when used as directed. However, increasing experimental and epidemiological research suggests that prenatal exposure to APAP might alter fetal development, which could increase the risks of some neurodevelopmental, reproductive and urogenital disorders. Here we summarize this evidence and call for precautionary action through a focused research effort and by increasing awareness among health professionals and pregnant women. APAP is an important medication and alternatives for treatment of high fever and severe pain are limited. We recommend that pregnant women should be cautioned at the beginning of pregnancy to: forego APAP unless its use is medically indicated; consult with a physician or pharmacist if they are uncertain whether use is indicated and before using on a long-term basis; and minimize exposure by using the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. We suggest specific actions to implement these recommendations. This Consensus Statement reflects our concerns and is currently supported by 91 scientists, clinicians and public health professionals from across the globe.

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: