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Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Blog

OTC Painkillers Tied to Undescended Testicles in Newborn boys

Women who take over-the-counter painkillers during pregnancy have an increased risk of having sons born with undescended testicles, according to a study that also incorporates rat models to show why this might be.

Using data from a birth cohort of singleton sons born to 1,463 women in Finland and 834 in Denmark, the researchers found the risk of cryptorchidism (undescended testes) to increase sevenfold in boys born to women who used more then one of three over-the-counter painkillers- aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen.  Exact dosages were not recorded.

The findings, published online Nov. 8th in the journal Human Reproduction (doi:10.1093/humrep/deq323), also showed that any of these painkillers that were used for any duration during the second trimester more than doubled the risk of cryptorchidism, although tylenol did not reach statistical significance.  The highest risk was in women who used more than one compound simultaneously for more than 2 weeks in the second trimester.  This findings were confirmed in rat studies and adds to findings published earlier from a cohort of 47,000 boys born in Denmark, 980 of whom were identified in childhood of having undescended testicles.

The significance of these findings is that men who are born with cryptorchidism, show an increased risk of having poor sperm quality and testicular germ cell cancer.

ACFS strongly advise pregnant women to talk with their obstetrician before taking any medications, especially OTC painkillers.

Posted in IVF - In Vitro Fertilization