What is a mother to do if she becomes ill during pregnancy? The risks of consuming common drugs when pregnant are complex. Although many doctors assure mothers that taking Tylenol is safe, a recent study by JAMA Pediatrics suggests otherwise. The study found that mothers who used Tylenol for fever reduction while pregnant reported greater ADHD-like symptoms in their children.
Scientists learned that acetaminophen used in the last two trimesters of pregnancy generated a 63 percent greater risk for ADHD symptoms.
The risk fell to 28 percent during the third trimester and in the first trimester it was only 9 percent.
Dr. Beate Ritz, professor in UCLA’s department of epidemiology said, “The causes of ADHD are not well understood, but both environmental and genetic factors contribute. We know there has been a rapid increase in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, over the past decades, and it’s likely that the rise is not solely attributable to better diagnoses or parental awareness. It’s likely there are environmental components as well.”
However, a further investigation regarding this finding is needed to actually link acetaminophen and ADHD although the association is relevant.
Pregnancy Drug Risk Categories
The FDA has control over classifying the safety of certain drugs during pregnancy, a set of labels called the Pregnancy Risk Categories.
They include A,B,C,D,X and N. Categories A-D move from the safest drugs to the ones more likely to cause problems during pregnancy. Category X drugs are unsafe and should not be consumed by any woman who is pregnant.
Category N drugs include drugs that have not been tested so the FDA can’t offer a suggestion. Acetaminophen falls into the B category but ibuprofen, another common pain reliever, falls into the D category. Neither of these medications should be taken heavily during pregnancy or during the third trimester.
For more information regarding the link to acetaminophen use and pregnancy contact your local health provider or please visit www.FDA.gov.