Doctors frequently recommend acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, to pregnant women for treating mild pain.
But a new study suggests the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy could be linked with ADHD-like behavioral problems in children.
Rise in ADHD cases
“Findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice,” said an accompanying editorial in JAMA Pediatrics by Miriam Cooper and colleagues at the Cardiff University School of Medicine. “However, they underline the importance of not taking a drug’s safety during pregnancy for granted.”
More clinical evidence is still needed to confirm the findings, but experts explained the research points to a new potential cause for the worldwide rise in cases of ADHD.
The latest study was based on survey data on over 64,000 women from 1996 to 2002.
The researchers found that women who took acetaminophen while pregnant had a 37% higher risk of having a child who has a hyperkinetic disease. This is a particularly severe form of ADHD.