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In The News: Acetaminophen May Increase ADHD Risk During Pregnancy

In the news: Pregnant women who take acetaminophen for pain or fever— best known by the brand Tylenol – face an elevated risk their child will develop attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new long-term study out of Denmark suggests. Children whose mothers took acetaminophen during pregnancy showed up to a 40 percent higher probability of an ADHD diagnosis. The research involved more than 64,000 Danish mothers and their children, who were born between 1996 and 2002.

By the age of 7, such children were more likely to use ADHD medication and exhibit ADHD-like behavior problems, according to the study that was published February 24 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Because the study did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, follow-up research is needed to verify the findings.

Expectant mothers often use acetaminophen to treat headaches, fever or soreness because medicines such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen are not recommended during pregnancy.

Of greater concern, the ADHD risk appeared to increase with the amount of acetaminophen the mother reported taking during pregnancy. The strongest effects were seen when a woman reported taking acetaminophen for six weeks or more, and even greater when used 20 weeks or more. The report did not recommend discontinuing the use of the medication, as there is at this time no established causal link. However, many doctors are calling for more research without delay. There is no other OTC pain medication currently comparable for women to safely take during pregnancy.

The maker of Tylenol said in a statement that the medication’s label directs women who are pregnant or breast-feeding to consult with a health care professional before using the product. The Cartwright Law Firm feels this is always an important thing to remember, and urges mothers-to-be to use any pain medications with great care. We seek to keep you the consumer informed of the latest news that may impact your health and safety.

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