Autism and ADHD in children: how dangerous paracetamol

Taking paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of development of the child’s autism and attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, us scientists warn — the higher the dosage, the greater the likelihood of disorders. However, researchers do not undertake to say it is caused by the drug or by some unaccounted factors.

The research of experts from Johns Hopkins University was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Paracetamol is the most popular pain reliever in the world. It is considered the only safe painkiller to take during pregnancy. However, more and more studies show that it can harm the fetus and lead in the future to asthma, autism, infertility and other health problems. But almost all of them were based on self-reports of mothers, so the reliability of the data was not too high.

This time, the researchers used more objective methodology. They measured the biomarkers of paracetamol and its metabolites in cord blood samples 996 children. Traces of acetaminophen were contained in each sample that talked about the prevalence of its use during pregnancy. The researchers divided the children into three groups depending on how high was the concentration of paracetamol and its metabolites in their umbilical cord blood, and watched them for a few years.

In the group with the highest content compared to the group with the lowest

the risk of ADHD was increased 2.86 times the risk of autism 3.62 times.

In the “average” group of 2.26 and 2.14, respectively. The results persisted after adjustment for other risk factors — BMI of mother, premature birth, use of alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, etc.

“People think that paracetamol is harmless and can be safely used for headaches, heat, aches and pains, says Professor Shaobing van, one of the authors of the work. — Our study confirms the findings of previous studies, the link between the use of paracetamol during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism or ADHD really exist.”

Wang notes that, despite the obtained results, to argue that taking paracetamol causes autism and ADHD, is not correct and encourages to interpret the data with caution.

“It is clear that more research is needed to clarify the situation for sure, — the Professor explains. — While there is no absolute certainty about the harm of paracetamol, parents and doctors should be aware of the potential risks, taking decisions about its use during pregnancy.”

That problem can be not in the paracetamol, and the reason the woman took it, saying in September 2019 and British researchers. They analyzed data from 14 thousand children aged 6 months to 17 years. They were interested in the results of tests for memory, information about the temperament and behaviour of children. During pregnancy, their mothers filled out a questionnaire answering whether they took paracetamol at 18-32 week and how often did this.

As it turned out, the frequent use of paracetamol was correlated with the increase in the risk of the child attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.

“These results only show the Association between the use of paracetamol and adverse effects, — said Dr. Pat O’brien of the Royal College of obstetricians and gynecologists. — More research is needed to accurately determine the cause. So far, I recommend to consider paracetamol safe in the treatment of light or moderate pain in women during pregnancy and breastfeeding”.

As noted by scholars, was able to prove not causation, but only correlation, more detailed insights are obtained in other studies. Also should estimate, whether there are behavioural problems in older children and adults whose mothers took paracetamol.

But vaccination during pregnancy should not be afraid to autism in children they certainly will not (as, however, and inoculations were made directly to children). Researchers from Kaiser Permanente analyzed data on 82 thousand children from southern California to find out how much kids with autism among those whose mothers received during pregnancy, the Tdap vaccine, designed to protect her and the baby in the first months of life against pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus, and those who refused.

It turned out that among the first number of children with autism spectrum disorders was 1.5%, and among second — 1,8%.

“Any connection between the Tdap vaccine received during pregnancy and autism in children it was revealed not”, — concluded the authors.

Video of the day. The cat was not allowed in the cabin due to the extra weight


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