Paracetamol during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD and autism

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There were already abnormalities in earlier studies

Paracetamol has long been considered a safe remedy for fever and pain during pregnancy. However, studies in the past have shown that frequent use of pain relievers could have negative effects on the unborn child. A large study of more than 70,000 children that has just been published again suggests a link between paracetamol use during pregnancy and subsequent attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder in children.

19 and 21 percent more likely to have ADHD or autism

Children who are in the womb before birth Paracetamol were 19 percent more likely to have symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder and 21 percent more likely to have ADHD symptoms than children whose mothers did not take acetaminophen during pregnancy. This is the result of a new meta-study by researchers from the University of Barcelona in the “European Journal of Epidemiology”. There were no differences between boys and girls. No association could be demonstrated between the administration of paracetamol after birth and the occurrence of symptoms of an autism spectrum disorder.

IN THE VIDEO: Dos and Don’ts during pregnancy

Nevertheless, researchers do not generally advise against taking it

In total, the researchers led by study leader Silvia Alemany evaluated data from 73,881 children from Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece and Spain. There, between 14 and 56 percent of the mothers stated that they had taken paracetamol during pregnancy. The researchers of the new Spanish study do not advise against taking it completely – but strongly recommend that it should only be taken when it is really necessary.

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Study from 2016: caution is advised, especially in weeks 18 to 32

Older studies suggested that paracetamol use during pregnancy could affect children’s neurological development. In 2016, a study by the CREAL research center in Barcelona found that paracetamol increases the risk of autism and ADHD in children. For example, researchers at the University of Bristol warned that caution should be exercised in pregnancy weeks 18 to 32. In 2019 they found out that the affected children showed abnormalities in their social behavior and that they behaved hyperactive and unfocused. Asthma has also been identified as a possible consequence.

Paracetamol overall more problematic than long thought

Overall, paracetamol is now viewed more critically than it was ten years ago. Taking paracetamol massively increases the risk of stomach ulcers, heart disease and strokes, according to a study at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2014.
“Paracetamol comes from a 130-year test in humans, not a scientific analysis. That means: We have never looked for toxicological problems and probably simply overlooked them. Only recently has the substance been used critically and has discovered a lot of bad things. The experimental ones Results indicate that we have a real problem here, “warned Prof. Kay Brune, pharmacologist at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, at the time. (ija)

GOOD TO KNOW: Which drugs are actually allowed during pregnancy?

What about other drugs during pregnancy? Here we explain which medications can be taken during pregnancy. In the best case scenario, you should completely avoid medication during pregnancy. When in doubt, always ask a doctor.

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