Study finds

Pain reliever taken during pregnancy is linked to ADHD

(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Researchers said the findings of a new study suggest that women who take acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, during pregnancy run a greater risk of giving birth to a child with attention problems, or hyperactivity. More than half of all women take acetaminophen, which is found in a variety of different allergy, flu and pain medications, at some point during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to the drug, the researchers said, was linked with emotional and behavioral problems, like ADHD, that manifest later in children.

Researchers studied more than 14,000 pregnant women and they found that 53 percent of women used the pain reliever by the time they’d reached 18 weeks of pregnancy and 43 percent used it at 32 weeks and beyond. Comparatively, some 89 percent of women reported using the drug after having given birth. Researchers factored in other potential causes for behavioral problems — like alcohol and tobacco use, genetics, etc. — and discovered that a pregnant woman who used acetaminophen at 18 weeks of pregnancy showed a greater chance of her child becoming hyperactive or developing conduct problems. Those who used the drug 32 weeks into pregnancy were linked to higher odds of having a child that developed emotional symptoms, conduct problems and hyperactivity symptoms.

Still, they said the drug is safe to use while pregnant — in moderation. “Acetaminophen is considered safe to use during pregnancy,” said Evie Stergiakouli, the study’s lead author, but stressed that the pain reliever should only be taken when absolutely necessary and under a doctor’s supervision.  A spokesperson for Tylenol also issued a statement saying the study failed to draw “a causal link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and adverse effects on child development.”

Read the full story at CNN.

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