Maternal use of paracetamol during pregnancy appears to increase the risk of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorder or the child having a lower IQ

In May 2018 researchers from the USA published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess the association between acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) use during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes if offspring. The researchers stated that the non-prescription medication, acetaminophen, is currently recommended as a safe pain and fever treatment during pregnancy although recent studies have suggested a possible association between acetaminophen use in pregnancy and offspring neurodevelopment. A total of 9 studies were included in the review. Results showed that all the included studies suggested an association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorder or lower IQ. The association was strongest for hyperactivity and attention-related outcomes. The researchers concluded by stating that pregnant women should be cautioned against indiscriminate use of acetaminophen as these results have substantial public health implications.

Bauer AZ et al. Prenatal paracetamol exposure and child neurodevelopment: A review. Horm Behav. 2018 May;101:125-147

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