Tylenol in Pregnancy Linked to Asthma and ADHD

Acetaminophen is still actively prescribed by pediatricians

Pregnant woman taking pills

Pregnant woman taking pills

Medicines such as Tylenol that contain acetaminophen are frequently prescribed by doctors to relieve pain during pregnancy. In the UK, where the study was conducted, they are considered the National Health Service treatment of choice.

Now, however, an article in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology finds an association between paracetamol intake and hyperactivity and attention problems as well as with other difficult behaviors in young children. Boys appeared to be more susceptible than girls to the possible behavioral effects of the drug.

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Using questionnaire and school information from Bristol’s Children of the 90s study researchers examined 14,000 children. 43 per cent of their mothers said they had taken paracetamol “sometimes” or more often during the previous three months of pregnancy. Researchers examined results of the children's memory, IQ and pre-school development tests, temperament, and behavior measures.

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“Our findings add to a series of results concerning evidence of the possible adverse effects of taking paracetamol during pregnancy such as issues with asthma or behaviour in the offspring,” said Professor Jean Golding OBE who also founded the University of Bristol’s Children of the 90s study. “It reinforces the advice that women should be cautious when taking medication during pregnancy and to seek medical advice where necessary.”

ReferenceJean Golding, Steven Gregory, Rosie Clark, Genette Ellis, Yasmin Ilesā€Caven, Kate Northstone. Associations between paracetamol (acetaminophen) intake between 18 and 32 weeks gestation and neurocognitive outcomes in the child: A longitudinal cohort study. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12582
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