Study Suggests Pregnant Women Who Take Tylenol Are More Likely to Have Children With ADHD, Other Disorders

The Daily Mail reports, "Children were around a fifth more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or some form of insomnia by age three if their mothers regularly used acetaminophen. 

It is the latest in a growing body of evidence to highlight the risks of common over-the-counter painkillers on unborn babies."

This could be a significant issue since the US Centers for Disease Control estimate that some 65% of pregnant women take such drugs as Tylenol during pregnancy.

While it remains unclear the link between acetaminophen and ADHD, such drugs have also been linked to an increase in autism, sleep disorders and decreased IQ in children.

The study examined the health of nearly 2,500 mother-child pairs from Pennsylvania and children’s behavioral problems were measured at the age of three, using the seven syndrome scale scores from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).

Toddlers whose mothers took painkillers or medication containing acetaminophen during pregnancy scored ‘significantly higher’ on three of the seven CBCL syndrome scales – withdrawn, disordered sleep and attention issues.

The FDA says studies so far are 'too limited to make any recommendations'.

'Because of this uncertainty, the use of pain medicines during pregnancy should be carefully considered,' it adds.

We urge pregnant women to always discuss all medicines with their health care professionals before using them.'

However, the FDA does cite NSAID painkillers, which also reduce inflammation, as proving to be more harmful during pregnancy.

'If women take the medications around 20 weeks or later in their pregnancy, the drugs can cause rare but serious kidney problems in the unborn baby, which can lead to low levels of amniotic fluid (the protective cushion surrounding the unborn baby) and the potential for pregnancy-related complications,' the FDA said in a Drug Safety Communication. 

Further analysis showed children were 21 per cent more likely to have attention problems such as ADHD if their mothers used painkillers during their pregnancy, and 23 per cent more likely to have issues with sleep.

If your child suffers from any of these disorders and you took Tylenol or another product containing acetaminophen, you may contact us for a free evaluation of your case.