New research conducted on mice at the University of Uppsala has provided evidence that the drug acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, can be harmful for early stage development. You can find the details of the study in this recent article from SVT.se.
While the study used only animals as test subjects, researchers are confident that the findings of the study can be applied to humans. During the study, 10 day old mice were split into two groups. One group was given doses of the drug, while the other group was given doses of brine. After two months, the paracetamol group was compared to their brine counterparts.
Those mice who were given heavy doses of the drug during their early stages of development were deficient in several ways. They were unable to adapt to new environments with the same ease as the control group. They also had trouble gaining new knowledge.
A similar study was conducted to test whether or not the drug affects all age groups in a similar way. Researchers discovered that those mice who received paracetamol during development showed much more severe side effects than the group that received dosages during adulthood.
So what’s the conclusion? Hans Sjogren, a clinical investigator on the study says that it is too difficult to make sweeping conclusions since the tests were only performed on mice, but his initial reaction is that the painkiller could be somewhat harmful to pregnant women.
He stopped short of saying pregnant women should avoid the drug altogether, but the pharmaceutical world will certainly be watching as more details on paracetamol’s effects become known.