Acetaminophen use in pregnant women and young children may increase the risk of developing asthma, though some studies show conflicting findings. A decade or more ago, reviews showed that acetaminophen use could cause or worsen asthma in children. However, more recent studies found no difference between acetaminophen use versus ibuprofen in causing asthma in children. Moreover, it’s thought that respiratory symptoms are already present during the use of these drugs, thus mistakenly attributing any breathing problems to the drugs’ use.
2. Reduced Kidney Function
According to the National Kidney Foundation, painkillers such as acetaminophen can reduce blood flow to the kidneys, preventing the kidneys from doing their job and increasing the buildup of toxins within the body. Waste products can accumulate, affecting the kidney’s ability to filter blood.
1. Heart Attack or Stroke
Acetaminophen can increase a person’s risk for a heart attack or stroke. Because it restricts blood vessels to reduce pain and inflammation, acetaminophen can also cause high blood pressure, increasing the chances of a cardiovascular event. They can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medication.
Safe Use of Acetaminophen
Even with all these dangers to consider, the benefits outweigh the risk with the responsible use of acetaminophen. For example, allowing a fever to remain too high when a child is ill holds more danger than lowering the fever using acetaminophen.
If you’re looking to lower the risk of adverse effects of acetaminophen use, consult the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website. They recommend consulting with a health professional if you have a kidney or liver disorder, asthma, heart problems, or are pregnant before taking OTC pain medications.
Avoid taking more than one acetaminophen-containing product at one time. Be especially aware of OTC cough or cold products that contain more than one drug. Take acetaminophen as prescribed or as written on the OTC package label.Related: 8 Ways Ibuprofen Can Be Bad for Your Body