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Mar 7, 2014

Taking Tylenol during Pregnancy Linked to Kids’ ADHD

A new study shows that the probability of a child developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms demanding medication increased the most- 63 percent- when his or her mother took acetaminophen during the last two trimesters of pregnancy.  

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and Panadol and is also a component of Excedrin, among other common pain relievers.

Researchers found that children of women who used acetaminophen during pregnancy were about 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children of mothers who took none. The probability rose by 28 percent when acetaminophen was used in the third trimester alone. When a pregnant woman reported taking the drug in her first trimester of pregnancy only, the added risk was just 9 percent.

The study, led by Miriam Cooper of the University of Cardiff in Wales, does not establish that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen caused the observed increase in diagnosed hyperactivity disorders, prescriptions for ADHD medications, or emotional problems in children reported by parents.  Cooper stated that without more details on how acetaminophen might lay the foundations for ADHD, the findings should be interpreted cautiously.