Is Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy Linked to Autism, ADHD?

A recent study looks at whether taking acetaminophen during pregnancy could increase an unborn child’s chance of being diagnosed with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later on.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 7:23 AM

CLEVELAND – Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S., affecting one in every 59 children.

A recent study looks at whether taking acetaminophen during pregnancy could increase an unborn child’s chance of being diagnosed with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later on.

The study looked at data from 132,738 pairs of mothers and children over a period of time ranging from 3-11 years.

Salena Zanotti, M.D., did not take part in the study, but said it showed that small amounts of the drug are likely okay.

“What they found is that using acetaminophen occasionally – for example, less than eight days in a pregnancy in one study – there was not an increased risk,” she said.

While occasional use of acetaminophen did not appear to be harmful, researchers did see an association between prolonged use of the drug and the risk of autism and ADHD.

The children of mothers with prolonged exposure to acetaminophen were shown to have a 20 percent increased risk of autism, and a 30 percent risk of ADHD.

Dr. Zanotti said the difficulty in understanding the significance of the study results comes down to the fact that experts simply don’t know the causes behind autism.

She said the most important thing that pregnant moms need to know is that acetaminophen is still the safest known drug to take to treat problems like fever and pain while pregnant. Also, it’s riskier to have an untreated fever than it is to take acetaminophen while pregnant.

“If you have a fever, or if you have pain that is disrupting your daily life, it’s okay to take acetaminophen,” said Dr. Zanotti. “We just don’t want you taking it every day, long term. But if there are conditions where you might need it, discuss it with your physician because there are some conditions where you do need to take that medication and it might be safest thing.”

Dr. Zanotti said this study tells us that we need more research to know for sure what kind of affect prolonged acetaminophen use can have on a baby.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 4243

Reported Deaths: 153
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah116559
Marion96025
Washington73917
Clackamas31211
Deschutes1250
Umatilla1163
Linn1159
Polk9812
Lane733
Yamhill707
Jackson660
Benton555
Clatsop450
Klamath440
Jefferson330
Malheur320
Coos310
Douglas270
Wasco241
Josephine231
Hood River180
Columbia160
Lincoln120
Morrow110
Curry70
Union60
Tillamook60
Crook60
Wallowa20
Lake20
Sherman10
Harney10
Grant10
Baker10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111951

Reported Deaths: 4172
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles550012362
Riverside7486323
San Diego7481269
Orange6261147
San Bernardino5246204
Alameda339096
Santa Clara2776141
San Francisco258842
Kern225038
San Mateo210484
Tulare184484
Fresno174335
Santa Barbara164912
Imperial163427
Contra Costa145037
Sacramento140056
Ventura107833
San Joaquin85834
Kings7464
Stanislaus74429
Sonoma5534
Monterey53010
Solano51722
Marin48314
Merced2837
San Luis Obispo2691
Placer2159
Santa Cruz2132
Yolo21124
Napa1123
Madera1062
Humboldt1013
El Dorado900
San Benito872
Sutter462
Del Norte450
Butte440
Nevada411
Shasta394
Mono371
Mendocino300
Yuba301
Lake210
Inyo201
Amador190
Mariposa161
Glenn160
Calaveras150
Siskiyou70
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 64°
Brookings
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 56°
Crater Lake
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Grants Pass
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 61°
Klamath Falls
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Isolated showers and storms Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events