By The Conversation
Review of 25 years of research finds acetaminophen may contribute to developmental disorders in children.
A mounting body of evidence shows that the use of acetaminophen—widely known by its brand name Tylenol—during pregnancy may pose risks to the fetus and to early childhood development. That was the conclusion of a new review study on which I was a lead author.
Acetaminophen, which has the chemical name paracetamol, is a go-to over-the-counter medication that’s widely recommended by doctors to relieve pain and reduce fever.
Our study, based on an assessment of 25 years of research in the areas of human epidemiology, animal studies, and in-vitro studies, concludes that prenatal acetaminophen exposure may increase the risks of reproductive organs developing improperly. We identified a heightened risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, primarily attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and related behaviors, but also autism spectrum disorder, language delays, and decreased IQ.
In our consensus statement—a broad agreement by our multidisciplinary international panel of experts—published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology in September, 91 clinicians and researchers have called for caution and additional research.
Why It Matters
Acetaminophen is an active ingredient in more than 600 prescription and over-the-counter medications. It’s used by more than 50 percent of pregnant women worldwide and at least 65 percent of pregnant women in the United States. Research suggests that acetaminophen is an endocrine disruptor and may interfere with the hormones essential for healthy neurological and reproductive development.
Over the same time period, the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy has gone up. We conclude that because acetaminophen is so commonly taken during pregnancy, if its use is responsible for even a small increase in individual risk, it could contribute substantially to these disorders in the overall population.
What Still Isn’t Known
It’s unethical to do experiments that could harm human life, so to gain a better understanding of the direct effects of acetaminophen during pregnancy, we must rely on human observational and experimental studies to assess the possibility of causal connections. But to really get at these questions, we need human cohort studies that can precisely capture when and why acetaminophen is taken during pregnancy. We would also like to see research that gives us a better understanding of the biological pathways.
The current near-ubiquitous use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is due in part to the widespread perception—even among doctors—that it has limited side effects and negligible risk. But a growing body of research suggests that the indiscriminate use of acetaminophen during pregnancy—especially for conditions such as chronic pain, low back pain, and headaches—may be unwarranted and unsafe.
In our consensus statement, we urge for the education of health professionals and pregnant women about the risks and benefits of acetaminophen use during pregnancy.
Based on our extensive review of the evidence—and the recognition that there are limited alternatives for the necessary treatment of high fever and severe pain—we recommend that pregnant women refrain from using acetaminophen unless it’s medically recommended by a doctor. Women should also minimize risk to the fetus by using the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.
Affiliate News Feeds
- Washington Examiner
- The Federalist
- The Epoch Times
- The Guardian
- The Gateway Pundit
President Joe Biden on Friday leaned into his plan to erase student debt for millions of people, elevating a policy the Democrats hope will animate voters ahead of the November… [...]
MONONGAHELA, Pennsylvania — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), joined by a group of high-profile Republican lawmakers, unveiled the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” agenda at an HVAC factory near… [...]
As mankind sets its sights on the stars, it becomes important to ask what will ground humanity as it begins to settle other planets. [...]
As CNN tries to rebuild public trust, the network made the bizarre choice to move Jake Tapper to primetime. [...]
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Saturday that she will not remain a Republican if former President Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee in the 2024 elections, and that she… [...]
A federal judge has granted class action status for U.S. Marines in their fight against Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The ruling is another blow to the… [...]
Economists suggest Bank of England may need an emergency interest rate hike, as gilts slide and sterling slumps to a record low against the US dollarPound hits all-time low against… [...]
Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party is set to lead a coalition with a majority in both housesItalian election 2022: live official resultsItaly’s acclaimed writer Roberto Saviano, author of the… [...]
President Trump held a rally in Youngstown, Ohio the previous weekend for Republican U.S. Senate nominee J.D. Vance and other Ohio GOP candidates for federal and state offices. The rally… [...]
Tech giant Bill Gates is now pushing crop seeds that he thinks could help put an end to famine, but while these genetically engineered seeds may be a great advancement,… [...]