Paracetamol use during pregnancy may influence neurodevelopment in offspring and appears to be associated with the development of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder

In April 2019 researchers from the USA published the results of their analysis to assess the association between maternal acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) use during different exposure periods and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. A total of 8,856 children born in to women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II were included in the study. Information on maternal acetaminophen use was collected in biennial questionnaires. 721 children (8.1%) in the study group were reported by their mothers as being diagnosed with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Results of the analysis suggested that only acetaminophen use at the time of pregnancy was associated with childhood attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. No association between acetaminophen use in the 4 years before and 4 years after the pregnancy were identified. The researchers concluded by stating that their findings corroborated those of previous reports suggesting that acetaminophen use during pregnancy may influence neurodevelopment.

Liew Z et al. Use of Negative Control Exposure Analysis to Evaluate Confounding: An Example of Acetaminophen Exposure and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Nurses’ Health Study II. Am J Epidemiol. 2019 Apr 1;188(4):768-775

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