Study Finds Link Between Tylenol Use During Pregnancy, Kids’ Behavior Problems
However, the researchers say the effect overall was relatively small and that pregnant women should not avoid acetaminophen when it's needed.
Los Angeles Times:
Acetaminophen Use In Pregnancy Linked To Kids' Behavioral Problems
Acetaminophen, long the mainstay of a pregnant woman’s pain-relief arsenal, has been linked to behavioral problems in children born to mothers who used it during pregnancy. Research published Monday by the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that a woman’s use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with greater odds that when the resulting child was 7 years old, his or her mother would report a range of problematic behaviors. (Healy, 8/15)
Tylenol During Pregnancy: Is There An Effect On Kids' Behavior?
There's no question the study addresses an important topic. About half of all pregnant women take acetaminophen during pregnancy because it's considered safer than other painkillers. And hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in childhood are common and potentially disruptive. The study reports that these behavioral problems were about 20 to 45 percent more common among the children of women who took acetaminophen during pregnancy. So it sounds like a pretty important finding, right? Well, it's not quite so simple. (Harris, 8/15)
Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy Linked To Childhood Behavioral Problems, Study Finds
Despite the increased risk for women taking the drug, the total risk of developing behavioral issues overall remained small, with 5 percent of children studied being affected by these behavioral issues. “This does not mean it is not safe during pregnancy," Stergiakouli said. (Ghodadra and Mohney, 8/15)
Can 'Safe' Painkiller Really Cause Hyperactivity In Kids?
The researchers did try to address some of the questions doubters had. They asked the women, for instance, about symptoms that may have caused them to take pain medication. Infections such as influenza can affect brain development — for instance, they are linked to autism. It's one of the many reasons pregnant women are urged to get flu shots. But the surveys didn't ask one key question, which is how often or at what doses the women took the pills. If the risk of behavior problems went up the more often women took the pills, that would be more of a smoking gun. (Fox, 8/15)