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Acetaminophen is a commonly used medicine, if not the most common, for women suffering from pain during pregnancy. Lead study author, Zeyan Liew, stated that the study involved roughly 64,000 children and mothers who gave birth in Denmark between 1996 and 2000. More than half of the mothers participating in the study admitted to using Acetaminophen while pregnant.
Prior studies on animals and people revealed a potential link between Acetaminophen and disrupted hormone levels. Disrupted hormone levels may affect brain development and cause behavioral problems. The study completed by Zeyan Liew and other researchers looked into the potential link between Acetaminophen and the behavioral issues of children.
To evaluate outcomes of the study, the researchers reviewed parental reports of behavioral problems in children seven years of age and identified Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder(ADHD) prescriptions for children from the Danish Prescription Registry. The study proved there is a connection between Acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the resulting ADHD diagnosis in children. Stronger associations were shown to have existed when a mother used Acetaminophen during more than one trimester of her pregnancy.
While the researchers admit that further investigation needs to occur, they believe the connection is relevant to the health of children given the high exposure of Acetaminophen and the high level of ADHD diagnoses.
If the connection between prenatal Acetaminophen use and ADHD diagnoses in children continues to be strong, alternative pain relievers should be provided for pregnant women. The number of children diagnosed with ADHD in 2011 through 2012 is allegedly 42% higher than the number of diagnoses from 2003 through 2004. Many people already share concern for diagnosing children with disorders like ADHD at such a young age. If altering pain relievers for pregnant women would lessen children’s risk for ADHD, I believe alternatives should be evaluated and provided.
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