Paracetamol intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of infertility even in grandchildren

Paracetamol intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of infertility even in grandchildren

17 April 2018, 15:39

The use of paracetamol and ibuprofen during pregnancy can increase the risk of infertility in the future in children. In addition, the new scientific work points to the possibility that these drugs reduce the fertility of future generations.
According to previous studies, ibuprofen can lead to infertility in future daughters. A new study found that both paracetamol and ibuprofen could harm fertility (the ability to have offspring) both boys and girls.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh examined the effects of paracetamol and ibuprofen on the tissues of the testicles and ovaries of embryos. The study was published In the magazine Environmental Health Perspectives .
Every third woman takes painkillers during pregnancy. “We would recommend that women think carefully before taking painkillers during pregnancy and follow the existing recommendations,” – advises Dr. Rod Mitchell (Rod Mitchell), who led the study at the Center for Reproductive Health of the University of Edinburgh (University of Edinburgh, Centrefor Reproductive Health).
Within one week, researchers studied the effects of two analgesics on the tissues of embryonic testes and ovaries. The number of spermatozoa under the action of paracetamol was reduced by 40%, ibuprofen reduced their number by half. In the ovaries, the number of ovules decreased by a quarter under the influence of each of the drugs.
For girls, the described effect is more dangerous, since all the eggs are laid in utero. Reducing their number threatens early menopause.
In addition, the researchers carried out studies in mice, which transplanted the tissue of the testicles of the human embryo. These conditions mimicked growth and functioning in the womb. Within one day of treatment with paracetamol, the number of cells that produce spermatozoa decreased by 17% in tissue. Weekly treatment led to a reduction in their number by almost a third.
An interesting discovery was that the action of paracetamol and ibuprofen triggers in the cells mechanisms that lead to changes in the structure of DNA, called epigenetic labels. These labels can be inherited, which helps explain how taking pain medication can affect future generations. These effects, most likely, were caused by exposure to prostaglandins – hormone-like substances that play an important role in the ovaries and testes.
Previous studies in rats showed that taking painkillers during pregnancy leads to a decrease in the number of germ cells in female embryos. This affects the fertility of females in subsequent generations.
In addition, recent studies, the in France, demonstrated that a two-day intake of ibuprofen during pregnancy is sufficient to increase the risk of infertility in female children, and the damage caused is inevitable even after discontinuation.
The National Health Service (NHS) recommends that pregnant women not use ibuprofen during the first two trimesters because of the increased threat of miscarriage. If an analgesic is needed, the use of paracetamol in « minimum effective dose and for the shortest time ” . In addition, categorically prohibited ibuprofen in late pregnancies because of the increased risk of complications.
Dr. Channa Jayasena, Senior Research Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology at Imperial College London, said: “Paracetamol and ibuprofen are commonly used during pregnancy. However, during the past year an increasing number of reports suggest that they study their safety for unborn children more thoroughly. This latest study increases the likelihood that paracetamol and ibuprofen may reduce the growth of “germ cells”, which subsequently become eggs or spermatozoa. ”
However, John Smith, executive director of the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, states: “The official recommendation of the NHS for paracetamol is that it can be used at all stages of pregnancy to reduce heat ( fever) and pain relief. This is confirmed by more evidence of more than 50 years of use of paracetamol in humans. ” As for ibuprofen, pregnant women should avoid taking it, except by direct doctor’s advice.

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