Most parents try to avoid unnecessarily medicating their kids. In this day and age there's a pill (or a syrup, or a chewable, or a melting wafer, etc.) for everything. But that does not mean kids should have all of them.
However, there are some medications, pain and fever relievers especially, that are staples for parents with young children. Recently though, there has been an uptick in the number of parents who are choosing not to give their kids over-the-counter pain medications, like Tylenol or Advil, because they feared it caused asthma.
Some observational studies were done in the past that led parents to believe this, but new research has concluded otherwise.
In a study released Monday May 27, 2013, at a meeting of the American Thoracic Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, researchers presented their findings that Tylenol and other over-the-counter pain medications are not the cause of increase in asthma in children.
They concluded that children with respiratory infections, which could be precursors to asthma, were prescribed pain medication more than those without a history of respiratory problems.
The respiratory infections and the fevers they cause are responsible for the increased asthma risk, researchers found. The observational studies, particularly the 2008 study conducted n New Zealand, did not take into account respiratory infections as the root of increased asthma risk.
Dr. Augusto Litonjua, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the authors of the study explained the findings in simplistic terms.
“We showed that children who took acetaminophen and ibuprofen in the first year of life had higher risks of developing asthma later on. But when we accounted for their concomitant respiratory infections, the effects were no longer significant.”
This study examined data on 1200 women and their young children, from pregnancy through their first years of life. The researchers focused on how frequently the women used over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, either for themselves or for their children.