Is The Use Of Acetaminophen During Pregnancy Associated With ADHD?

A new study links acetaminophen with ADHD in children, but doctors interpret results “cautiously”


 

A recent study has found that children of women who take acetaminophen, found in painkillers such as Tylenol, while pregnant are at a higher risk of being diagnosed ADHD, hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) and other behavioural disorders. 

The study, published in JAMA Pedicatrics, looked at 64,322 children and mothers who were registered in the Danish National Birth Cohort from 1996-2002. After the examination of questionnaires and medical records of the participants, Dr. Jorn Olsen of the Institute of Public Heath at the University of Aarhus concluded “children born to mothers who used acetaminophen during pregnancy were at higher risk for receiving a hospital diagnosis of HKD, ADHD medications, or having ADHD-like behaviours during follow-up”.

Yet doctors still believe acetaminophen is the best pain reliever to use when expecting. The CBC spoke with Dr. Gideon Koren, director of the Motherrisk program at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto, who stated, “I do not believe that a study of this type of quality can cause us to change what we tell women”. Because ibuprofen, found in Advil and Motrin, can increase the risk of bleeding, acetaminophen is still considered the safer option.

As is always the case, Koren explains any extended use of the drug should be discussed with a physician.

The study itself states that the results are of relevance for public health, but that further study is needed. Psychiatric researcher Miriam Cooper from Cardiff University said the study’s findings should be interpreted cautiously, “and should not change practice”.

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