An association between asthma and acetaminophen use was first reported in a 2000 study from England. Since then, more than 15 studies have confirmed that both adults and children who take acetaminophen are more likely to have a diagnosis of asthma or exhibit asthma symptoms.

Still, epidemiologists have been reluctant to conclude that acetaminophen causes asthma and generally have not recommended changes in practice. A few have recommended that asthmatics limit acetaminophen use until the relationship between this common analgesic/antipyretic and asthma is clarified by a randomized clinical trial.

This article focuses on the possibility that acetaminophen might increase airway inflammation in individuals with asthma or a predisposition to asthma, thereby contributing to the severity and frequency of symptoms. (See related article in the December issue of Pediatrics,

Six studies in adults published since 2000 involving 90,000 subjects have a pooled increased odds ratio for asthma of...

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