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Frequent Use of Paracetamol and Risk of Allergic Disease Among Women in an Ethiopian Population
Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Author: Alemayehu Amberbir et al.

by Alemayehu Amberbir, Girmay Medhin, Charlotte Hanlon, John Britton, Andrea Venn, Gail Davey

Introduction

The hypothesis that paracetamol might increase the risk of asthma and other allergic diseases have gained support from a range of independent studies. However, in studies based in developed countries, the possibility that paracetamol and asthma are associated through aspirin avoidance is difficult to exclude.

Objectives

To explore this hypothesis among women in a developing country, where we have previously reported aspirin avoidance to be rare.

Methods

In 2005/6 a population based cohort of 1065 pregnant women was established in Butajira, Ethiopia and baseline demographic data collected. At 3 years post birth, an interview-based questionnaire administered to 945 (94%) of these women collected data on asthma, eczema, and hay fever in the past 12 month, frequency of paracetamol use and potential confounders. Allergen skin tests to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and cockroach were also performed. The independent effects of paracetamol use on allergic outcomes were determined using multiple logistic regression analysis.

Findings

The prevalence of asthma, eczema and hay fever was 1.7%, 0.9% and 3.8% respectively; of any one of these conditions 5.5%, and of allergen sensitization 7.8%. Paracetamol use in the past month was reported by 29%, and associations of borderline significance were seen for eczema (adjusted OR (95% CI)?=?8.51 (1.68 to 43.19) for 1–3 tablets and 2.19 (0.36 to 13.38) for =4 tablets, compared to no tablets in the past month; overall p?=?0.055) and for ‘any allergic condition’ (adjusted OR (95% CI)?=?2.73 (1.22 to 6.11) for 1–3 tablets and 1.35 (0.67 to 2.70) for =4 tablets compared to 0 in the past month; overall p?=?0.071).

Conclusions

This study provides further cross-sectional evidence that paracetamol use increases the risk of allergic disease.

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