A Swedish study has found that paracetamol can interfere with the brain development of children, and can even be dangerous for the unborn children of pregnant women.
Researchers at Uppsala University
examined paracetamol, one of the most commonly used drugs for pain and fever in children, by giving small doses of it to ten-day-old mice. They later carried out tests on the behavioral habits of the mice in adulthood.
They found that the mice could be hyperactive in adulthood, could display behavioural disturbances, and could have lower memory capability compared to the mice that weren't given the dose.
"The exposure to and presence of paracetamol during a critical period of brain development can induce long-lasting effects on cognitive function and alter the adult response to paracetamol in mice," researchers noted.
They added on Monday that parents should be careful in administering the drug.
"This shows that there are reasons to restrict the use of paracetamol at the end of pregnancy and to hold back from giving the medicine to infants," researcher Henrik Viberg told the Upsala Nya Tidning newspaper.
Paracetamol can be found in Alvedon, Panodil, Pamol and Reliv.
The study was published in the online Toxicological Sciences journal.