An international team of researchers authored their new study in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, cautioning against the long-term use of paracetamol during fetal development in gestation.
Paracetamol, or N-acetyl-p-aminophenol (APAP), has long been regarded as a safe drug intervention approved by the FDA during pregnancy. However, researchers examined 29 studies, uncovering evidence of birth defects among the vast majority of them.
The long-term use of the analgesic is said to cause potential neurodevelopmental, urogenital, and reproductive effects during fetal development.
The findings highlight the need for not only further research but a potential modification to the health recommendations made by public health bodies for use during pregnancy.
“This APAP Consensus Statement is a call to prioritize research initiatives and to provide evidence-based medical guidance for APAP use by pregnant women, with the goal of creating awareness so women can make informed decisions that will lead to minimizing APAP exposure,” the authors wrote in their findings.
“We therefore call for agencies such as the FDA and EMA and appropriate obstetric and gynaecological societies to review all available data covering both epidemiological and experimental studies, so an evidence-based evaluation of the risk can be made available to inform patients and their health-care professionals.”