Paracetamol in pregnancy linked to ADHD

Women who take paracetamol for pain relief during pregnancy are at greater risk of their children developing behavioural problems like ADHD, a study by the University of Auckland had revealed.

The research alleges that children of mothers who use paracetamol during their pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing ADHD later in life.

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Researchers analysed use of acetaminophen, aspirin, antacids, and antibiotics during pregnancy and then measured behavioural problems in children.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Lead researcher Dr John Thompson said there was no evidence other drugs and pain killers used in pregnancy caused differences in behaviour.

“The finding that even low doses of acetaminophen/Paracetamol (indicated by the number of weeks of drug exposure) can affect behaviour seven years later is alarming because it is the most commonly used antenatal drug,” Dr Thompson said.

Children who were in the paracetamol group had poorer scores at each age for all difficulty scales, especially in the areas of inattentive symptoms at seven years old and hyperactive impulsivity at 11 years old.

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