Women who take Tylenol during pregnancy may increase the risk that their child will develop a common condition known as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or an even more severe, kinetic disorder.
Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in the pain reliever, Tylenol, and is also found in many over-the-counter cold medications, as well as in combination with the prescription pain medications, like Vicodin (hydrocodone).
Acetaminophen is the most popular medication for pain and fever during pregnancy, taken by more than 50 percent of pregnant women in the U.S., according to the authors of the study, which was published February 24th in JAMA Pediatrics.
The pain-reliever thought to be fairly safe during pregnancy may actually not be as safe as believed. These results have been confirmed following a 17-year study of 64,000 children and moms who gave birth in Denmark between 1996 and 2002.
More than half of the mothers reported using acetaminophen while they were pregnant. Their children faced increased risk for ADHD-type behaviors by the age of 7, the researchers found.
In addition, those children were also more likely to be prescribed ADHD medications and also faced an increased risk for hyperkinetic disorders (HKD), a particularly severe form of ADHD.
The longer the pain reliever was taken in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the higher the risk of developing ADHD later in the child’s life.
Women who took acetaminophen for 20 plus weeks during pregnancy almost doubled their risk that the child would have HKD and increased the chance a child would take ADHD medications by more than 50 percent, compared to moms who did not take the drug.
Some recent studies conducted in animals and people have found the drug may disrupt hormone levels, which in turn may affect brain development and cause behavioral problems.
This study was observational, which means it does not imply a cause and effect relationship between taking acetaminophen during pregnancy and these problems.
About 6.4 million children in this country (11 percent of all children), have ADHD, which is characterized by behavioral problems like impulsivity, difficulty with paying attention, being overly active and having problems getting along with others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tylenol has been in the news for the past few years, warning about the damage acetaminophen can cause to one’s liver. Too much acetaminophen is now known to be toxic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently required makers of Tylenol to post stronger warning labels on their products containing acetaminophen.
Although most drugs come with side effects, pregnant women should be even more careful before using any medications that can cause danger to their child.
For more information, you can contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 800-246-HURT (4878).