ADHD Linked to Mothers Use of Acetaminophen During Pregnancy

acetaminophen during pregnancy

JAMA Pediatrics recently published a landmark Danish study suggesting ADHD in children is linked to acetaminophen taken during pregnancy. Findings report that moms who used pain relievers to treat things like headaches or to reduce fevers saw a 37% increased risk in their kids receiving an ADHD diagnosis and a 29% increased risk in the chances that their kids needed ADHD medications compared with moms who didn’t use the over-the-counter medication at all. Suggesting that acetaminophen may increase the risk of ADHD by interfering with maternal hormones that play a role in fetal brain development.

Another notable finding was the probability of a child developing ADHD symptoms severe enough to require medication increased to by 63% mothers took acetaminophen during the last two trimesters of pregnancy. It also rose by about 28% when acetaminophen was used in the third trimester alone.

Researchers 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. Acetaminophen is an effective fever reducer, and allowing fever and infection to go untreated in a pregnant woman can be dangerous for her baby. Always check with your doctor Consult your health care provider or midwife. Before taking medication or using alternative methods to treat pain and fever.

Where is Acetaminophen Found?

Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America. According to KnowYourDose.Org. it is found in more than 600 different over-the-counter and prescription medicines, including generic and store brand pain relievers, fever reducers, sleep aids, cough, cold, and allergy medicines. Always check the label.

Over-the-Counter Brand Name Drugs That Contain Acetaminophen

Actifed® Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels® Anacin® Cepacol® Contac® Coricidin® Dayquil® Dimetapp® Dristan® Excedrin® Feverall® Formula 44® Goody’s® Powders Liquiprin® Midol® Nyquil® Panadol® Robitussin® Saint Joseph® Aspirin-Free Singlet® Sinutab® Sudafed® Theraflu® Triaminic® TYLENOL® Brand Products Vanquish® Vicks® Zicam® *And store brands

Common Prescription Drugs That Contain Acetaminophen (or APAP)

Butalbital Endocet® Fioricet® Hycotab Hydrocet® Hydrocodone Bitartrate Lortab® Oxycodone Percocet® Phenaphen® Sedapap® Tapanol® Tramadol Tylenol® with Codeine Tylox® Ultracet® Vicodin® Zydone® *And generic drugs


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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