Pregnant women reminded to check medicines with doctor

23 June 2017

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The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today reminded consumers that over-the-counter analgesics, like all other medicines, should only be used during pregnancy under the advice of a healthcare professional.

This follows reports of a study published in the journal Reproduction,1 which examined the effects of paracetamol on mouse foetuses. The study found that when pregnant mice were fed paracetamol, the development of male behaviour in male offspring was inhibited. 

ASMI Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Director Steve Scarff said, "While we welcome this new research and the insights it brings, this is one study in a broad body of knowledge and so must be viewed in that context. It is therefore important that people do not over-react to the findings on this study on mice."

Paracetamol is a medicine categorised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as having been "taken by a large number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age without any proven increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the foetus having been observed."2

Paracetamol is one of the few medicines recommended for controlling pain and fever during pregnancy.

"While Paracetamol has been used in Australia for many years and does have a well-established safety profile, all medicines have risks," Mr Scarff said. "These risks need to be carefully weighed against the risks of not treating pain or fever during pregnancy. Consumers are therefore reminded to follow the label instructions and to talk to their healthcare professional about their pain relief options during pregnancy."

 

References               

  1. Reproduction. 2017 May 30. pii: REP-17-0165, Paracetamol/acetaminophen impairs brain masculinisation
  2. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Medicines in Pregnancy Database. https://www.tga.gov.au/prescribing-medicines-pregnancy-database