Return to Contents in this Issue

Original Article


A Mexican Population-Based Study on Exposure to Paracetamol and the Risk of Wheezing, Rhinitis, and Eczema in Childhood


MM Barragán-Meijueiro,1 B Morfín-Maciel,1 AA Nava-Ocampo 2

1 Colegio Mexicano de Pediatras con Especialidad en Alergia e Inmunología Clínica, Coyoacan, Mexico
2 Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2006; Vol. 16(4): 247-252



Background: There is some evidence suggesting a link between paracetamol exposure and atopy in both adults and children.

Objective: We aimed to investigate whether further epidemiological support for a link between paracetamol intake and allergy could be found in a population of Mexican children.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study design, we applied the ISAAC questionnaire to 3493 children aged 6 to 7 years old. Two analyses were performed: 1) children were classified as cases if they had wheezing, rhinitis, or eczema at any time from their neonatal period up until they reached the age of 6 to 7 years, or as controls if they had never experienced these conditions, and 2) children were classified as cases if they had wheezing, rhinitis, or eczema in the 12 months prior to the study. Paracetamol intake was considered positive if it frequently occurred during the first year of life (first analysis) or in the last 12 months (second analysis).

Results: Paracetamol intake in the first year of life was significantly associated with an increased risk of ever having wheezing (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.69; 95 % confidence interval [CI], 1.23 to 2.34) and rhinitis (adjusted OR, 1.37; 95 % CI, 1.20 to 1.59) but not eczema (adjusted OR, 1.45; 9 % CI, 0.91 to 2.32). Frequent paracetamol intake in the last year increased the risk of wheezing (OR, 3.3; 95 % CI, 1.54 to 7.18), rhinitis (OR, 1.61; 95 % CI, 1.33 to 1.95), or eczema (OR, 1.82; 95 % CI, 1.24 to 2.66).

Conclusion: Frequent paracetamol exposure was associated with a significantly increased risk of wheezing and rhinitis and probably eczema in a Mexican population of children.

Key words: Asthma. Eczema. Acetaminophen. Paracetamol.