New research suggests that paracetamol, which is also known as acetaminophen and sold under the brand name Tylenol in the United States (U.S.) and Panadol in the United Kingdom (U.K.), has been linked to infertility.
The findings are published online in Human Reproduction but was first reported by DailyMailUK Online. Couples, where the male partner had high levels of the drug in his urine took longer to conceive, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health, compared to men who had lower levels of the compound in their system.
Paracetamol is a non-prescription drug widely used as a pain reliever and to reduce fever.
It is also one of the compounds produced when the body breaks down aniline, a chemical used to make rubber, pesticides, and coloring agents used in food, cosmetics and clothing.
Dr. Melissa Smarr, the study’s first author, from United States (NIH’s) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said: “At this point, our findings need to be corroborated by future research, and there is no cause for alarm.’
Smarr explained that the high levels of paracetamol in the urine of certain men, who participated in the study, were unlikely to result from taking the painkillers alone.
The findings, she said, are more consistent with those seen from environmental exposure, either to aniline or paracetamol, or a combination of the two.
But, she said, the findings could have implications for the amount of paracetamol exposure that is deemed acceptable. Researchers led by Dr Smarr analyzed data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study, established to examine how lifestyle and exposure to environmental chemicals may affect fertility.