Paracetamol is one of the most common drugs we use in Nigeria. In fact most of the time we don’t need a doctor’s order or advise before we take paracetamol. If we have any form of body pain our default is usually to go and buy paracetamol and take without first consulting any doctor.
New research has now warned pregnant women against taking paracetamol even at recommended doses as it might harm the masculinity of their unborn son. This study was published in the scientific journal Reproduction. It found that paracetamol could also reduce fertility in daughters too.
The researchers found the pills inhibit the development of ‘male behaviour’ in mice by reducing the amount of the ‘masculine’ hormone testosterone in their bodies.
Professor David Mabjerg Kristensen, the lead author of the research states that;
“We have demonstrated that a reduced level of testosterone means that male characteristics do not develop as they should. “This also affects sex drive.
“Male programming had not been properly established during their fetal development and this could be seen long afterwards in their adult life. It is very worrying.”
Just last year, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Dr Stella Okoli, said.
“Most users have ‘staggered’ overdoses after taking paracetamol in other forms, such as caffeine drinks or panadol, thereby failing to realise that the amount they have taken could be fatal in a few days.”
According to her, 500mg tablets the equivalent of 4g should be the maximum dose daily, warning that anyone who exceeds this dose will be endangering his life. However, if you’re pregnant experts say you should take the minimum amount needed. Don’t be tempted to top up with another dose, just in case the pain returns.
As Nigerians, we need to stop the habit of self medicating, it is a very dangerous habit that we sometimes even pass on to our kids. Self medication is especially dangerous when you are pregnant or a nursing mother. Before taking any drug make sure you consult your doctor first.