“Research suggests Pregnant Mothers taking Acetaminophen Linked to Behavioral Problems in Children. This medical research was published online Feb 24, 2014 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Dr. Olsen and colleagues analyzed data on 64,322 children and their mothers enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996 – 2002). Acetaminophen use during pregnancy was assessed during pregnancy and 6 months after childbirth.
More than half of the women (56%) reporting using acetaminophen during pregnancy. Children with prenatal exposure to acetaminophen were at higher risk of being diagnosed with HKDs, using ADHD medications, or having ADHD-like behaviors.
Human fetuses exposed to acetaminophen ― a drug considered safe in pregnancy but which crosses the placental barrier ― may raise the risk for behavioral problems in children, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and hyperkinetic disorder (HKD), a severe form of ADHD, the research suggests.Acetaminophen can cross the placenta barrier, and recent studies have suggested that maternal use of acetaminophen increases the risk for cryptorchidism in boys, owing to its endocrine-disrupting properties, the investigators note in their article.
“Maternal hormones, such as sex hormones and thyroid hormones, play critical roles in regulating fetal brain development, and it is possible that acetaminophen may interrupt brain development by interfering with maternal hormones or via neurotoxicity such as the induction of oxidative stress that can cause neuronal death,” the researchers write.
Because millions of moms take acetaminophen for pain or fever during their pregnancies and because hyperactivity and attention problems and undescended testicles are so frequent in children these results are of public health relevance. These findings should inspire more research and most important a very cautious use of acetaminophen during pregnancy.”
Non toxic solutions for pain and fever should be tried first and acetaminophen taken only when really needed during pregnancy. I do not agree with the authors that no change should be made yet in recommending acetaminophen in pregnancy because more research is needed and someone needs to replicate their study. Why wait? Just use other treatments that are less toxic or non toxic.
“The results did not appear to be confounded by maternal inflammation or infection during pregnancy, mother’s mental health problems, or any of a number of other factors evaluated, the investigators report. However, they add that they cannot rule out residual confounding by genetic factors, unmeasured maternal psychopathology, exposure to other medications, or indication for drug use.”
So interpret with caution these results. Hopefully more research will be done to see if acetaminophen will be declared unsafe in pregnancy. So now precaution when you take potentially toxic drugs like acetaminophen during pregnancy because it could interfere with your babies hormones. Personally I would opt for non toxic homeopathic medicines in the 30 x or 30 C dosage which are OTC and have indications for fever and pain and other common ills.
Jacquelyn Wilson, MD DHt DABIHM