Whenever your head is pounding paracetamol is the remedy, isn’t it? Still, when pregnant is this drug a safe painkiller option?
Paracetamol is the primary medicine used for managing pain and fever during pregnancy, or at least it was until recently. A recent study by a group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh has shown that taking too much acetaminophen, commonly known as paracetamol, reduced testosterone production in the womb. (ScienceDaily)
Testosterone, a hormone produced in the testicles, is crucial for the life-long health of men. Low exposure to the hormone in the womb has been linked to an increased risk of infertility, testicular cancer and hormone imbalances that make male babies prone to conditions like obesity and heart disease after birth.
The University of Edinburgh study which was published in Science Translational Medicine tested the effect of paracetamol on testosterone production in mice that carried grafts of human tissue. These grafts have been shown to mimic how the developing testes grow and function during pregnancy.
Scientists gave the mice a typical daily dose of paracetamol, over a period of either one or seven days and they found that one day of exposure had no impact on the mice’s testosterone production. However, after seven days of exposure the amount of testosterone was reduced by 45%.
So does this mean pregnant women shouldn’t take paracetamol at all? Dr Rod Mitchell, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, advise “that pregnant women should follow current guidance that the painkiller be taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.”