Study: Acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause behavioral problems

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

UNITED KINGDOM (WABC) -- A new study shows a link between a common pain relieving medicine and behavioral issues in children.

According to researchers in the UK, women who used acetaminophen during pregnancy had an increased risk of having children with various behavioral problems.

Acetaminophen with the over the counter name Tylenol has generally been considered safe to take during pregnancy.

The finding were released by JAMA. The tests were conducted by the University of Bristol, United Kingdom with a sample group of over 7,000 mothers.

Study results suggest prenatal use of acetaminophen by mothers at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy was associated with increased risk of conduct problems and hyperactivity symptoms in children.

"Children exposed to acetaminophen use prenatally are at increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties. Our findings suggest that the association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and offspring behavioral problems in childhood may be due to an intrauterine mechanism," said Evie Stergiakouli, Ph.D., of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

Doctors caution: "However, the risk of not treating fever or pain during pregnancy should be carefully weighed against any potential harm of acetaminophen to the offspring."

Scientists say more research is needed.