Acetaminophen taken during pregnancy has been linked to numerous problems in children or has been suspected to be the cause of several other issues. Women have been told to take the drug in order to relieve various pains and to reduce fever. However, studies are now showing that this drug is not as safe as previously thought. While it may not impact women themselves, it can pose other problems for infants whose mothers took acetaminophen while pregnant with them such as autism and language delays.
Many Different Drugs Contain Acetaminophen
Acetaminophen forms the basis for hundreds of different drugs. While many tie acetaminophen exclusively to Tylenol, the truth is that it is contained in other medications such as Sudafed, Robitussin and Theraflu. Since many people do not even know what the popular medications that they take contain, they may be subjecting their unborn child to risks when they take them during pregnancy. There are up to 900 different drugs that may contain acetaminophen in varying contents, yet the public does not know that the medication they take can pose a risk to their unborn child.
Tylenol Has Been Linked with Other Disabilities in Children
Previously, there have been reports that have linked Tylenol taken during pregnancy to problems in children such as autism and ADHD. A previous 2019 study found that taking acetaminophen at late stages of pregnancy may be responsible for a higher rate of these disabilities in children. Researchers found that some of the medication can cross through the placenta to the fetus, thereby impacting the unborn child and causing problems that could impact the child throughout the rest of their life.
There are also studies that link acetaminophen to language delays in children. These studies are preliminary but they are consistent with other studies showing that acetaminophen can impact unborn children. The initial study showed that language delay that may result from the use of acetaminophen impacts only girls and not boys. It shows that there may be a correlation between the use of acetaminophen and the fact that some girls may not have a vocabulary of more than fifty words by the age of thirty months.
Acetaminophen Can Have Impacts When Taken at Any Point in Pregnancy
The primary impact occurs when a woman uses acetaminophen during the first trimester of pregnancy. A tablet or two usually would not have this effect. Instead, the risk begins to increase when a woman has taken six or more tablets of a drug containing acetaminophen during the first trimester.
One possible question about the study results is what is the cause of any impacts on the child versus what is the effect. For example, Acetaminophen could be used to treat a fever or some other sickness that could affect the unborn child. So while people may associate the acetaminophen usage with the disability in the child, it could be the underlying condition that is impacting the fetus. Researchers still need to address many of these issues. However, the number of studies reaching similar results is increasing, which should give expectant mothers some pause before taking acetaminophen during pregnancy.
These Studies Contradict Previous Prescription Practices of Doctors
This is contrary to long-held wisdom among doctors who often recommended acetaminophen as the primary method of reducing fever and treating pain during pregnancy. Perhaps physicians have recommended acetaminophen as the least of all evils as other medications are known to have even worse effects on pregnant women. In other words, even with the risks, there are no alternatives to acetaminophen that are safer. Nonetheless, physicians should take heed of these recent studies and consider other alternatives when figuring out what to recommend to pregnant women. Doctors may be held liable in the future if they continue to prescribe acetaminophen in the face of these numerous studies.
Researchers are still trying to figure out why there may be a connection between Acetaminophen and various disabilities. At this point, they have not found the exact connection. Some researchers have a theory that Acetaminophen may interfere with certain hormones that are critical in the process of the fetus’ brain development.
There Is Still Much to Be Learned
At this point, researchers are still continuing to study the issue. They have reached no conclusive results yet such that there can be a definite connection established. At this point, pregnant women should likely think twice about using any product containing Acetaminophen at any point in their pregnancy. Given the fact that many people do not know what is in a medication, they should thoroughly investigate any medication that they are taking to learn what it contains and whether there is any possible impact on their unborn child. When in doubt, they should consult their physician before they take anything to ascertain whether there are any possible impacts.
These are just some of a number of problems that plague the drug acetaminophen. California has classified acetaminophen as a carcinogen and consumers must be warned of the risks before they purchase a product containing the medication in the state. This decision was just issued so there are more forthcoming developments in this area too.
Be Aware That You May Have Legal Remedies
At this point, there are no known lawsuits filed against makers of products containing acetaminophen for any links between these drugs and any disabilities in the children. Currently, there are only research studies suggesting that there could be a connection between acetaminophen and these disabilities. Whether these end up becoming large lawsuits merits some attention in the future.
Where this could be a legal issue for the makers of these drugs is if they knew of these risks and failed to issue any type of warning. However, there likely needs some further development of the research in this area before any liability for the drugmakers would become apparent. Nevertheless, you should consult a product liability attorney if you have taken Acetaminophen during your pregnancy and your child has experienced any developmental delays or has been diagnosed with autism or ADHD.
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