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JOURNAL: British Medical Journal 8/03
ABSTRACT: Pregnant women who take certain types of painkillers, including aspirin, are up to 80 percent more likely to miscarry.
COMMENTARY: But paracetamol is not a risk, regardless of how often it is used during pregnancy.
Researchers in California interviewed more than 1,000 women shortly after they became pregnant and asked them about their reproductive history and their use of painkillers.
They found that use of aspirin and other non-steroid based anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increased the risk of miscarriage by 80 percent.
The risk was much higher when NSAIDs were taken close to the time of conception.
Paracetamol, aspirin, and other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, all suppress fatty acids which are needed for the successful implantation of an embryo in the womb.
But NSAIDs act on the whole body, paracetamol acts only on the central nervous system, which may explain why it has no effect on pregnancy, the researchers said.
Meanwhile, it may be prudent for physicians and women who are planning to be pregnant to be aware of this potential risk and avoid using NSAIDs around conception.