baby asthmaRespiratory infections in infancy, not analgesic use, are the actual underlying risk factor for asthma and wheeze in children, according to research presented at ATS 2013.

After reviewing data from 1,139 mother-child pairs, researchers discovered that while use of the drugs was associated with wheeze and asthma in unadjusted models, after adjusting the results to account for respiratory infections, the association between medication use in early childhood and asthma symptoms was substantially reduced.

They also noted that prenatal exposure to analgesics was associated with wheeze and asthma in the children. However, they did not have information regarding why the women took analgesics while pregnant, so they were unable to adjust for those potential factors. The authors believe this link must be interpreted with caution until researched further.

“Future studies will need to carefully collect information regarding the reasons for taking such over-the-counter drugs as analgesics during pregnancy,” said study lead author Joanne Sordillo, ScD, instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.