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Painkillers in pregnancy may affect babies' future fertility

From BBC - April 15, 2018

Taking painkillers during pregnancy could affect the fertility of the unborn child in later life, new research suggests.

Edinburgh University found the drugs may also affect the fertility of future generations, by leaving marks on DNA.

Experts said the findings added to growing evidence some medicines, including Paracetamol, should be used with caution during pregnancy.

Researchers stressed advice for pregnant women remained unchanged.

Current guidelines say, if necessary, Paracetamol should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Ibuprofen should be avoided during pregnancy.

The study looked at the effects of Paracetamol and ibuprofen on samples of human foetal testes and ovaries.

Tissue samples

The scientists found similar effects using several different experimental approaches, including lab tests on human tissue samples and animal studies.

Human tissue exposed to either drug for one week in a dish had reduced numbers of germ cells that give rise to sperm and eggs, cells, the study found.

Ovaries exposed to Paracetamol for one week had more than 40% fewer egg-producing cells. After ibuprofen exposure, the number of cells was almost halved.

Experts said this was important because girls produce all of their eggs in the womb, so if they are born with a reduced number it could lead to an early menopause.

Painkiller exposure during development could have effects on unborn boys too, the study found.

Female offspring

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