Tylenol and other medicines containing acetaminophen have long been considered a safe painkiller for pregnant women, but a new study from the University of Edinburth has found that prolonged use of acetaminophen – also known as paracetamol – during pregnancy can drive down testosterone levels in those taking the medicine leading to reproductive disorders in male babies.
Researchers gave laboratory mice three doses of acetaminophen every day for a week, and found that the mince given acetaminophen had a 45 percent reduction in testosterone compared to mice who were not given the medicine.
Testosterone is produced in the testicles and serves a crucial role in male reproductive health. Reduced exposure to testosterone in utero has been linked to an increased risk of infertility, testicular cancer, and undescended testicles.
Researchers said mice treated with acetaminophen for just 24 hours did not experience a drop in testosterone, but the effects were seen after a week of continuous treatment. Researchers say the study reinforces the recommendation that pregnant women take the lowest effective dose of medicine for the shortest possible time. If the recommended dose does not seem to control pain symptoms, patients should consult with their doctors.
“Ideally, women should avoid taking medicines when they are pregnant, particularly during the first three months,” said Carmel Lloyd head of education for the Royal College of Midwives.
Many medications have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects if taken by women while pregnant, such as a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These drugs include the brand names Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa and Prozac.
Source: The Telegraph