ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — As many as 70 percent of pregnant women take acetaminophen – the generic name for Tylenol – during pregnancy. But new research shows the medicine may not be as harmless as experts once thought.
It’s a medicine that experts have said for years is safe to take during pregnancy.
“If pregnant women don’t have complications or anything like that, most doctors will recommend Tylenol for pain,” says Pameil Rawlings, PharmD, Pharmacist.
But a new study at Johns Hopkins University published in Jama Psychiatry shows moms-to-be who use Tylenol may be more likely to have a baby with a developmental disorder.
Researchers tested the umbilical cords of babies soon after they were born to determine how much Tylenol reaches the fetus during pregnancy. They found the odds of having Autism or ADHD were more than twice as high in babies exposed to Tylenol near the time of their birth. Animal studies have shown Tylenol during pregnancy may affect brain cells and certain hormone levels, which could disrupt brain development. Though these findings are concerning, experts say more research needs to be done. Until then, pregnant women should be cautious about what they take.
“We don’t want pregnant women to take medication, period, if they don’t have to,” Rawlings continued.
Two previous studies have suggested a connection between Tylenol in pregnancy and ADHD and Autism in children. But those studies were based only on the mothers’ memory of taking Tylenol.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
DANGERS OF TYLENOL DURING PREGNANCY?
BACKGROUND: When you’re pregnant, the key to protecting the health of your child is to get regular prenatal care. Your health care provider will figure out how many weeks pregnant you are based on a physical examination and the date of your last period. They will also use this information to predict your delivery date. An ultrasound will be done later in the pregnancy to verify that date and find out the sex of the baby. During the span of your pregnancy, you’ll also have prenatal tests, including blood, urine, and cervical tests. Your weight and blood pressure will be kept under watch as well as the growth and development of the baby by doing things like feeling the abdomen, listening for the fetal heartbeat starting during the second trimester, and measuring the belly. About 300 extra calories a day will be needed, especially later in the pregnancy when the baby grows quickly. Healthy eating is always important, so make sure calories come from nutritious foods that will contribute to the baby’s growth and development.
PREGNANCY AND MEDICINE: Some medications are safe to take during pregnancy while others are not. The effects on your baby may not be known. Ask your health care provider and they will weigh the risks and benefits to help know what’s safe. Prenatal vitamins are safe and important to take when you’re pregnant, however, the safety of taking other vitamins, herbal remedies, and supplements should be discussed with a health care provider. Most of these have not been proven to be safe during pregnancy. Generally, no OTC medication should be taken while pregnant unless it is necessary. Some alternative therapies have been shown to be safe and effective for pregnant women to relieve some of the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy. But, it’s best to talk it over with your doctor before using any of them. And, natural doesn’t always mean safe when you’re pregnant.
DRUG LINKED TO ADHD AND HYPERACTIVITY?: Taking acetaminophen while pregnant has been linked to attention and hyperactivity issues in children, according to a report in Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. Researchers looked at the results of taking acetaminophen in women who were between 18 and 32 weeks pregnant, and the results in 14,000 children between 6 months and 11 years, testing memory and IQ up to age 17. Jean Golding, PhD, DSc, a professor at University of Bristol who led the research, said the findings should be further examined. They do not show a causal link, meaning that there’s not enough evidence to find that taking the medication causes behavioral problems, there’s just a link between the two. “Our study supports the findings from two other major studies which also collected information from women during pregnancy and assessed the behavior of their children subsequently. Both showed a similar association between paracetamol taken during pregnancy and hyperactive behavior,” Golding said. “Although this still does not prove causation, it makes the likelihood stronger.”
* For More Information, Contact:
Pamiel Rawlings, PharmD, MSMTM, CPh
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