Sex-Based Young Adult Asthma Risks Associated With Acetaminophen Use

A man holding a pill in his hand
A man holding a pill in his hand
Data from the Isle of Wight birth cohort study and the Kuwait University Allergy cross-sectional study were used to assess self-reported acetaminophen use and asthma diagnosis.

This article is part of Pulmonology Advisor‘s coverage of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, taking place in Orlando, Florida. Our staff will report on medical research related to asthma and other respiratory conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAAAI/WAO 2018.

ORLANDO — In a recent study, researchers found that male patients who had used acetaminophen at least once in the past month had a higher asthma risk than males who reported no acetaminophen use in the past year, but that did not hold true for female patients.

These findings were presented at the 2018 joint congress of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the World Allergy Organization, held March 2-5, 2018, in Orlando, Florida. Although an association between acetaminophen usage and asthma risk has been identified in previous studies, this new study suggests that this may be sex based.

The researchers conducted statistical analysis on allergy datasets from the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom (IOW; n=1456; age 18 years) and the Kuwait University allergy study (KUAS; n=1154; age 18-26 years) that included self-report of acetaminophen use, asthma diagnosis, and symptoms in young adults. The analysis involved Poisson regression with robust variance estimation to infer prevalence ratio, and the team then examined the data stratified by sex.

Adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated. Among male participants in the IOW study, the aPR for acetaminophen use associated with asthma was 2.35 (95% CI: 1.59- 3.47). Among female participants, the aPR was 1.29 (95% CI: 0.90-1.85; interaction-term P= .027). Assessment of the KUAS dataset yielded similar results:  aPR was 2.58 for male participants (95% CI: 1.03-8.38) and 1.27 for female participants (95% CI: 0.70-2.33; interaction-term P= .035).

Further investigation would contribute to determining a potential causal relationship considering the prevalence of both acetaminophen use and asthma in young adults.

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Ziyab AH, Zhang H, Kurukulaaratchy RJ, Arshad H, Karmaus W. Sex modifies the association between acetaminophen use and asthma among young adults: results from two population-based studies. Presented at: 2018 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology/World Allergy Organization Joint Congress; March 2-5, 2018; Orlando, FL. Abstract 26.