Acetaminophen During Pregnancy May Be Linked To ADHD In Children

Feb 24 2014, 9:03pm CST | by

Acetaminophen During Pregnancy May Be Linked To ADHD In Children
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Acetaminophen has been accumulating some evidence against its routine use in recent years, and now there may be more: The drug, if used during pregnancy, may raise the risk of behavior problems in the children years later. The authors of the new study, out in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, say it’s too early to make any new recommendations for the public just yet. But since the results do suggest that prenatal use may as much as double the risk of behavior disorders in the child, pregnant women may want to take the study into consideration, or talk with their doctors.

The study followed over 64,000 families in the Danish National Birth Cohort. The mothers filled out questionnaires regarding the frequency of their acetaminophen use during pregnancy, and answered questions about various aspects of their children’s behavior. Official diagnoses of hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), a severe form of ADHD, were tracked, as well as the number of prescriptions for ADHD medications (e.g. Ritalin).

Just over half the women taking part in the study used acetaminophen during pregnancy.

Use of the drug was strongly linked to increased risk for ADHD in the children in the first seven years of life, an increase of as much as 30%. Acetaminophen was also linked to a 37% greater risk for having an HKD diagnosis. And the more often the pregnant mothers used the drug, the higher their children’s risk of behavioral problems.

“When women reported having used acetaminophen for 20 or more weeks during pregnancy, the risk for HKD diagnosis in children almost doubled,” the authors write. And the odds of the children being prescribed an ADHD medication rose by 50%.

The results held up even when factors like maternal mental health, inflammation, and infection during pregnancy were accounted for.

Acetaminophen can cross the placenta, making its way to the  fetus and its delicate developing nervous system. The drug is a known endocrine (hormone) disrupter, and has previously been linked to undescended testes in male infants. Since the maternal hormone environment plays a critical role in the development of the fetus, the authors say that it’s “possible that acetaminophen may interrupt brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or via neurotoxicity such as the induction of oxidative stress that can cause neuronal death.”

All this said, causation can’t be determined from the current study – there is only a correlation between a mother’s acetaminophen use and behavioral/attention problems in the child. So there could be another factor or multiple factors at play, which haven’t been teased apart yet. And behavioral and attention problems are likely to have multiple causes, both genetic and environmental. For these reasons, the authors say that it’s too early to make any specific recommendations for pregnant women just yet.

But, they add, if causation should some day be demonstrated, then “acetaminophen should no longer be considered a safe drug for use in pregnancy.”

The authors of an accompanying editorial also point out that the results “underline the importance of not taking a drug’s safety during pregnancy for granted.” More research, they urge, will certainly be needed to address the remaining questions.

In the meantime, it may be wise to cut down on acetaminophen if you’re pregnant – it certainly shouldn’t be used routinely or for long periods. But talk with your doctor if you have questions about this, or any medications you’re taking.

Follow me @alicewalton or find me on Facebook.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Jewelry Auction Benefiting Animal Rescue Efforts Fetches $8.6 Million
Jewelry Auction Benefiting Animal Rescue Efforts Fetches $8.6 Million
The jewelry collection of Riki and Jerome Shaw achieved more than $8.6 million with all proceeds going toward cage-free animal shelters as part of the couple’s ongoing fight against animal cruelty. The private...
 
 
Measuring Social Networking Success: More Than Just Likes
Measuring Social Networking Success: More Than Just Likes
Measuring the success of social media interactions cannot be done using traditional ROI metrics. The nature of the communication channels involved requires a brand new approach.  By David Dubois, INSEAD Assistant...
 
 
Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job....
 
 
Formula One Planning To Launch Masters Racing Series Says Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he is planning to launch a masters series for former Formula One drivers following the concept which has been made popular by sports such as golf and tennis. It would see superstar...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Jewelry Auction Benefiting Animal Rescue Efforts Fetches $8.6 Million
The jewelry collection of Riki and Jerome Shaw achieved more than $8.6 million with all proceeds going toward cage-free animal shelters as part of the couple’s ongoing fight against animal cruelty. The private...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Measuring Social Networking Success: More Than Just Likes
Measuring the success of social media interactions cannot be done using traditional ROI metrics. The nature of the communication channels involved requires a brand new approach.  By David Dubois, INSEAD Assistant...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Justin Bieber is 'ready to make some changes'
Justin Bieber is trying to "be a better person." The 20-year-old star - who is set to appear in court in Miami on May 5 to face charges for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), resisting arrest and possessing an invalid...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Apple Reacts To Android And Brings The Cheaper iPhone 5C 8GB To New European Territories
Following its availability in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and China, Apple has released the iPhone 5C 8GB model in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic....
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job....
Read more on Business Balla
 
Formula One Planning To Launch Masters Racing Series Says Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he is planning to launch a masters series for former Formula One drivers following the concept which has been made popular by sports such as golf and tennis. It would see superstar...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Zoosk Files For IPO; Here's What You Need To Know
Zoosk, the fast-growing online dating service, just filed the paperwork for an initial public offering, and its S-1 provides the first in-depth look at the company’s financials as it seeks to raise $100 million in...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Should You Buy Inflation Protection For Long-Term Care Insurance?
Should you buy inflation protection for long-term care insurance? Absolutely. In fact, if you don’t think you can afford that extra coverage, you should probably rethink whether you should buy the insurance at all. The...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Companies Are Failing to Detect Financial Fraud in Supply Chains: Deloitte
A surprising number of business executives are leaving their supply chains vulnerable to financial fraud, according to a new study by Deloitte Consulting LLP. Polling more than 2,600 executives, the study found that...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Mercedes Head: Tesla Has No Network, Limited Potential
Mercedes-Benz at the New York Auto Show Tesla, the darling of car guys and Silicon Valley first-adopters alike, has not charmed quite everyone, it seems. Today at the New York Auto Show Mercedes-Benz USA head Steve...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla