Prenatal paracetamol use and asthma in childhood: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2017 Nov-Dec;45(6):528-533. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2016.10.014. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


Objectives: Some studies have suggested that prenatal paracetamol exposure might associate with the risk of child asthma. However, other studies have not confirmed this result. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis to investigate their relationship.

Methods: Two authors searched Pubmed and Embase databases up to June 2016. The strength of the association was calculated with the OR and respective 95% CIs. The random-effects model was chosen to calculate the pooled OR.

Results: A total of 13 articles of more than 1,043,109 individuals were included in the meta-analysis. A statistically significant association between prenatal paracetamol exposure and child asthma risk was found. The data showed that prenatal paracetamol exposure could increase the risk of child asthma (OR=1.19; 95% CI, 1.12-1.27; P<0.00001) in a random-effect model. Six studies reported paracetamol exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy. We found that paracetamol exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with increased risk of child asthma (OR=1.21; 95% CI, 1.14-1.28; P<0.00001). Furthermore, we observed that paracetamol exposure during the 2-3 trimesters of pregnancy was also associated with child asthma risk (OR=1.13; 95% CI, 1.04-1.23; P=0.005).

Conclusions: This study suggested that prenatal paracetamol exposure was significantly associated with the increased risk of child asthma.

Keywords: Asthma; Child; Paracetamol.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects
  • Acetaminophen / therapeutic use*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Risk


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Acetaminophen