Pregnant Women who Take Tylenol may Increase Risk of ADHD in Children

First Posted: Feb 25, 2014 07:46 AM EST

A recent study shows that expectant mothers who take Tylenol could increase their future child's risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Though Tylenol's active ingredient acetaminophen is commonly used to relief pain and fever during pregnancy, previous studies suggest that the medication can harm neurodevelopment in the baby, as well as increase the risk of behavioral issues.

For the study, researchers examined 64,233 children and mothers in the Danish National Birth Cohort between 1996 and 2002. They were asked to report behavioral problems based on a questionnaire and hyperkinetic disorder diagnoses and medication prescriptions for ADHD that were collected via Danish registries.

The study showed that half of the mothers said they had used the drug while pregnant. They also discovered that children of mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy showed an increased risk to be diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorders, as well as symptoms of ADHD by the age of seven.

Lastly, the findings also showed that the risk of ADHD was higher among women who took the drug for more than one trimester of their pregnancy.

Yet an accompanying article written by Miriam Cooper of Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales showed cautioned that the results may not be directly related.

"In summary, findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice. However, they underline the importance of not taking a drug's safety during pregnancy for granted, and they provide a platform from which to conduct further related analyses exploring a potential relationship between acetaminophen use and altered neurodevelopment," Cooper concluded, via the L.A. Times

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More information regarding the study can be found via JAMA Pediatrics.

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