Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy Raises the Risk of ADHD, Autism

by Ramya Rachamanti on  October 31, 2019 at 7:02 PM Drug News
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Acetaminophen exposure in the womb may increase a child's risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.
Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy Raises the Risk of ADHD, Autism
Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy Raises the Risk of ADHD, Autism

The study was conducted by Xiaobing Wang, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues. It appears in JAMA Psychiatry.

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ADHD is marked by a pattern of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. ASD is a complex developmental disorder that affects how a person behaves, interacts with others and learns.

Researchers collected umbilical cord blood from 996 births and measured the amount of acetaminophen and two of its byproducts in each sample.

By the time the children were an average of 8.9 years, 25.8% had been diagnosed with ADHD only, 6.6% with ASD only and 4.2% with ADHD and ASD. The researchers classified the amount of acetaminophen and its byproducts in the samples into thirds, from lowest to highest.

Compared to the lowest third, the middle third of exposure was associated with about 2.26 times the risk for ADHD. The highest third of exposure was associated with 2.86 times the risk. Similarly, ASD risk was higher for those in the middle third (2.14 times) and highest third (3.62 times).

The authors conclude that their results support earlier studies linking acetaminophen exposure in the womb with ADHD and ASD and underscore the need for additional research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges careful consideration before using any pain-relieving medication during pregnancy.

NIH funding for the study was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Source: Eurekalert

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