In a recent special article published in the journal Pediatrics, John T. McBride, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist and director of the Robert T. Stone, MD, Respiratory Center at the Akron Children’s Hospital, argues that evidence linking acetaminophen use and asthma is now strong enough for doctors to recommend infants and children who have asthma—or are at risk for the disease—avoid acetaminophen.

Noting a reluctance among medical professionals to confirm a link without a randomized clinical trial, despite a growing number of studies since the late 1990s documenting such an association, McBride writes that he recommends “that any child with asthma or a family history of asthma avoid using acetaminophen.”

According to a recent New York Times article, McBride bases his assertion on several studies, pointing out that even a single dose of acetaminophen can reduce levels of the peptide glutathione in body. Glutathione aids in the repair of oxidative damage that can cause inflammation in the airways.

While he concedes that there is not “100% certainty that acetaminophen makes asthma worse,” he opts to recommend ibuprofen to children with asthma and tells the New York Times that “the burden of proof is now to show that [acetaminophen is] safe.”

Source: New York Times; Pediatrics