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Home News and Update Year 2011 ‘Paracetamol Tied to Blood Cancer’

‘Paracetamol Tied to Blood Cancer’

Times of India
11 May 2011
New York, India

New research shows chronic users of acetaminophen, a top–selling painkiller known as Tylenol in the US and paracetamol in Europe, are at slightly increased risk for blood cancers.

Yet the risk remains low, and it’s still uncertain what role the drug plays. “Prior to this study there was very little evidence that aspirin reduces your risk of hematological cancers,” said Emily White of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, who worked on the new research.

Still, she warned, there is no proof that acetaminophen causes cancer, and the new results need to be confirmed before they are used in any treatment decision.

Earlier work has linked acetaminophen to asthma and eczema as well, but scientists still don’t agree on whether the drug is the actual culprit or just an innocent bystander.

The new study suffers from the same limitations, in that people who use lots of painkillers could be dealing with medical problems that set them up for cancer down the road.

For the study, the scientists followed over 65,000 older men and women in Washington state. Over some six years on average, 577 people – or less than 1% – developed a cancer involving the blood cells. Over 9% of people who developed one of these cancers used high amounts of acetaminophen.

Raymond DuBois, a cancer prevention expert at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said acetaminophen works very differently than other painkillers and so might be expected to have different effects on cancer.

Still, “It was quite surprising to see that acetaminophen use increased the risk of ” blood cancers, DuBois said. REUTERS

Painkillers may harm heart attack patients
A new study has warned that even short–term use of some painkillers like ibuprofen could be dangerous for people who’ve had a heart attack. Researchers analyzed the duration of prescription non–steroidal anti–inflammatory drugs treatment and cardiovascular risk in a nationwide Danish cohort of patients with prior heart attack.

They found the use of NSAIDs was associated with a 45% increased risk of death or recurrent heart attack within as little as one week of treatment, and a 55% increased risk if treatment extended to three months. Among 83,697 heart attack survivors, 42.3% had a least one prescription for an NSAID.

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