February 25, 2014
Doctors frequently recommend acetaminophen, commonly found in over-the-counter pain relievers including Tylenol, to pregnant women for treating mild pain.
But a new study out of Denmark suggests the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy could be associated with ADHD-like behavioral problems in children.
“(Pregnant women) shouldn’t worry at this point,” says study author Dr. Beate Ritz, professor and chair of the epidemiology department at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health. “But if I were a woman who was pregnant … I would try to avoid taking painkillers as much as I can until we know more about this.”
The study, published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed data from more than 64,000 children enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort study between 1996 and 2002. Mothers in the cohort study reported on their children’s behavior, and the researchers looked at databases to determine how many prescriptions for ADHD drugs were written and how many children received a diagnosis of a severe form of ADHD called hyperkinetic disorder, or HKD.