However, Eivind Ystrøm, lead author of a new study
published in the journal Pediatrics and a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, asserts
that "using acetaminophen for 29 days or more during pregnancy gave a 220
percent increase in risk for ADHD in the child."
was after taking medical conditions and risk for ADHD in the family into
account, Ystrøm added.
report claims that pregnant women who need medicine for fever or pain relief
"should not refrain from short-term acetaminophen use," the findings also
suggest that pregnant women who require "continuous acetaminophen for a
longer period" should consult with their physicians.
indicated that the use of acetaminophen by pregnant women for less than eight days was associated
with a decreased risk of ADHD in offspring. But experts in the field aren't exactly ready to jump onboard with these findings.
Dr. Alison G. Cahill,
a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' committee
on obstetric practice, and Dr. Max Wiznitzer, co-chairman of the professional
advisory board for the nonprofit Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder, both agree that their numbers "don’t make biological sense."
Wiznitzer pointed out that other learning and language disorders—which can often look like ADHD
on paper—might have caused inaccuracies.
thing we expect to see is a dose-response relationship, where an increasing
dose would relate to a worsening risk or worsening severity of that
disease," Cahill told CNN. This, however, wasn't seen in the study.
reports, researchers failed to take into account the dosage of acetaminophen
administered. Instead, they used a survey in which
patients self-reported the number of days, and Cahill said this is "not
informative from a scientific perspective."
"You have to be
careful about distance recall," adds Wiznitzer, noting that people often
have distorted recollections of their behavior from even a week ago.
should not be afraid of using acetaminophen, especially if it's their doctor's
recommendation," he said. "The data here is not strong enough to
support the conclusion."
Bottom line: If
you’re worried about safety, talk to your doctor.
Cahill, who is
also chief of maternal fetal medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, said that “a board-certified provider” is really the best person to advise pregnant
women on which medications are safe to take during pregnancy.