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Link Between Tylenol and ADHD Raises Questions About Use During Pregnancy

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Apr 20, 2018

Being pregnant and giving birth to a child is one of the most remarkable things in this life, but any pregnant mother will tell you that it can also be extremely challenging. Indeed, all pregnant women want to give birth a baby who is as healthy as possible, but with a science and recommendations from doctors about what to do and what not to do constantly changing, ensuring a newborn’s health can be challenging. Consider the latest reports about acetaminophen, the active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter drugs, including Tylenol. New research indicates that there is a strong link between acetaminophen and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What You Need to Know About Acetaminophen and ADHD

A recent article published in The New York Times succinctly summarizes and links to various different studies regarding acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the risk of ADHD. Some of the highlights of these various studies include:

  • Children exposed to long-term use of acetaminophen during pregnancy had more neurological development issues at age three;
  • Danish researchers who conducted a study in 2014 found a strong correlation between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD, especially when acetaminophen use was more frequent; and
  • The results of a 2017 study, which found that regardless of the reason that pregnant mothers used acetaminophen, and when controlling for other factors like smoking and genetic disposition, those pregnant mothers who used acetaminophen for 29 consecutive days or more during pregnancy had more than a two-fold risk of giving birth to a child with ADHD.

Does This Mean that Tylenol and Other Acetaminophen-Containing Drugs Are Unsafe

The results of the studies discussed above are certainly concerning. However, it is important to remember that correlation is not necessarily causation. In fact, it could be that in the studies listed above, mothers who used Tylenol and other acetaminophen-containing drugs for a long period of time had more severe conditions, and these conditions–not the acetaminophen–explain the higher rates of ADHD.

The takeaway is that there are a number of things to think about when pregnant that could cause harm to a developing fetus, and before you decide to suffer through symptoms like fever or pain, or take an over-the-counter drug to alleviate symptoms, you should talk to your doctor and discuss all potential risks. Further, the more information you have, the more informed decision you can make for yourself and your developing baby.

Learn More About Dangerous Drug Lawsuits

Acetaminophen is just one of the dozens of other (potentially) dangerous active ingredients for pregnant women and developing fetuses found in over-the-counter and prescription medications available throughout the United States.

If you have taken a drug that you believe has caused harm to you or your child, you may have a strong case against the drug manufacturer. At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced medical malpractice and drug liability attorneys are here to help you understand your options, and how to hold a drug company liable for harm. Please contact our law offices today for your free consultation.

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