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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2016 Feb;25(2):188-95. doi: 10.1002/pds.3940. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Association of prenatal exposure to acetaminophen and coffee with childhood asthma.

Author information

Section for Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
National Centre for Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
CIRRAU-Centre for Integrated Register-based Research, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Epidemiology and Social Science on Reproductive Health, Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research, WHO Collaborating Center for Research in Human Reproduction, National Population and Family Planning Key Laboratory of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices, Shanghai, China.
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.



Some studies have suggested that maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with asthma in the offspring, and coffee consumption may modify the toxicity of acetaminophen. We aim to examine whether pregnancy maternal acetaminophen use increases the risk for offspring asthma, and whether such a potential association could be modified by maternal coffee consumption.


We included 63,652 live-born singletons enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort. Maternal acetaminophen use and coffee consumption during pregnancy were assessed prospectively via the enrolment questionnaire and three computer-assisted telephone interviews. Asthma cases were identified by using the Danish National Patient Register and the Danish National Prescription Registry. We estimated the hazard ratios (HRs) for asthma according to prenatal acetaminophen and coffee exposure using Cox proportional hazards regression model.


After adjusting for potential confounders, acetaminophen use during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of offspring asthma (HR = 1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11-1.22). Coffee drinking during pregnancy was associated with a slightly decreased risk (HR = 0.94, 95%CI: 0.90-0.99). But there was no strong evidence of effect measure modification of acetaminophen use on offspring asthma by coffee consumption.


Acetaminophen use during pregnancy was associated with a modest increased risk for offspring asthma, which was not modified by coffee consumption.


acetaminophen; asthma; childhood; coffee; paracetamol; pharmacoepidemiology; pregnancy

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