Use of paracetamol in pregnancy increases risk of ADHD and autism

05 June 2018

Pregnant women who take paracetamol are up to 30% more likely to have children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), new research suggests.

Paracetemol iStock

Researchers analysed 132,738 mother-child pairs over three to 11 years and found use in pregnancy of the commonplace painkiller – also known as acetaminophen – is linked with a 20% increase in the risk of autism in the child too.

Author Dr Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: ‘Our findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD.’

However, he added: ‘While unnecessary use of any medication should be avoided in pregnancy, we believe our findings should not alter current practice and women should not avoid use of short-term acetaminophen when clinically needed.’

The findings were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


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