INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A shocking new study says a pain killer that half of all pregnant women in the United States take causes ADD and ADHD in children.
The drug in question is Acetaminophen, which is in thousands of over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol. The pain reliever was known as a safe option for soon to be mothers, but now many are nervous to take the OTC pain medication.
“I think it is probably the safest medication over the counter to take. Whatever my doctor tells me is what I will take,” said expecting mother Nicole Amirian.
The study by JAMA Pediatrics questioned pregnant women at 18 and 32 weeks and found those who took Acetaminophen had children with an increased risk of behavior problems and hyperactivity. Of the nearly 7,800 pregnant women studied, 5% of their kids had behavior problems by the age of seven.
“It gives us a reason to pause and remind patients that anything you take in pregnancy could potentially be a problem,” said OBGYN Dr. Sherry Ross.
These scary results have women wondering if any pain medication is safe to take during pregnancy. Doctors suggest avoiding unnecessary medications and to rely on natural relief like hot pack’s, cold packs, or massage. Health officials say when necessary to take only the minimum effective dose of Acetaminophen. After hearing the research, some soon to be mom’s decided to stay away from the drug.
“I just took the high road and thought, why would I cause any harm to my child,” said Aryana Castellanos.
According to the CDC, an estimated 5.1 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have ADHD in the U.S. Another 6.4 million kids have never been diagnosed with ADHD. The study does not point to the pain killer as the only contributing factor to these results.
“There are other variables that can come into play that are not really monitored well in these types of large studies. Including; is there a genetic component, is the mom drinking alcohol, or smoking tobacco,” said Dr. Ross.
The FDA says they have reviewed previous studies about the link between Acetaminophen and ADHD in children, but have not been able to draw reliable conclusions from the study.