crop pregnant woman taking vitamins

Tylenol Possibly Linked to ADHD and Autism in Children

Acetaminophen, most commonly sold under the brand name Tylenol, is a widely used over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer. It is available at any grocery store or drugstore across the United States. When it comes to pain management options for pregnant women, the choices that are available are quite limited. Acetaminophen was considered to be safe to use during pregnancy, however recent studies suggest otherwise. There may be links between acetaminophen usage during pregnancy and attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children.

What Research Suggests

A 2018 study involving questionnaires of more than 130,000 pairs of mothers and children published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that children who were exposed to acetaminophen in the womb are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with autism and 30% at a higher risk to be diagnosed with ADHD.

A 2019 study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed data from the Boston Birth Cohort. This 20-year study is comprised of early life factors influencing pregnancy and early childhood development. It was found that children whose core blood samples contained the highest levels of acetaminophen were an estimated three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or ASD.

A 2021 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that children were 19% more likely to develop autism and 21% more likely to show initial symptoms of ADHD after being exposed to acetaminophen.

Tylenol Autism Lawsuit

These recent developments in research have resulted in a number of lawsuits against major manufacturers of acetaminophen. The lawsuits allege manufacturers failed to properly warn consumers of potential risks that come with the usage of their product.

These studies are relatively new and ongoing, which means that even if it is proven that there is a direct link between the use of acetaminophen and autism, it does not necessarily mean that your child’s autism was caused by acetaminophen.

For now, if you are pregnant, consult with a doctor about the risks of using acetaminophen during pregnancy.

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