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Eur Respir J. 2008 Nov;32(5):1231-6. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00039208. Epub 2008 Jun 25.

The relation between paracetamol use and asthma: a GA2LEN European case-control study.

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  • 1National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Emmanuel Kaye Building, Manresa Road, London SW3 6LR, UK.


Studies from the UK and USA suggest that frequent use of paracetamol (acetaminophen) may increase the risk of asthma, but data across Europe are lacking. As part of a multicentric case-control study organised by the Global Allergy and Asthma European Network (GA(2)LEN), it was examined whether or not frequent paracetamol use is associated with adult asthma across Europe. The network compared 521 cases with a diagnosis of asthma and reporting of asthma symptoms within the last 12 months with 507 controls with no diagnosis of asthma and no asthmatic symptoms within the last 12 months across 12 European centres. All cases and controls were selected from the same population, defined by age (20-45 yrs) and place of residence. In a random effects meta-analysis, weekly use of paracetamol, compared with less frequent use, was strongly positively associated with asthma after controlling for confounders. There was no evidence for heterogeneity across centres. No association was seen between use of other analgesics and asthma. These data add to the increasing and consistent epidemiological evidence implicating frequent paracetamol use in asthma in diverse populations.

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