HEALTH NEWS: Acetaminophen may cause behavorial problems in unborn children

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 07:12 PM CST
HEALTH NEWS:  Acetaminophen may cause behavorial problems in unborn children story image
Acetaminophen is the most commonly used pain medication for pregnant women and has been considered safe to use.

Now, a new study finds pregnant women who take it, may be exposing their unborn babies to increased health risks.
It can increase a child's risk of behavioral and hormonal problems.

With very *few* options while pregnant...
Women have been turning to acetaminophen -- such as Tylenol -- for years to relieve headaches, fever, and pain.

But a new study suggests the drug may also be exposing unborn babies to an increased risk of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder -- or ADHD.

Dr. Jeff Chapa, Cleveland Clinic Obstetrician // "As the dose, or the amount of acetaminophen increased, the risk for development of ADHD or related disorders also increased."

UCLA researchers studied more than 64-thousand mothers and their children in the Danish National Birth Cohort from 1996 to 2002.

More than half reported using acetaminophen while pregnant and the results appeared to show a higher risk of children having ADHD behaviors at age seven.

Dr. Jeff Chapa, Cleveland Clinic Obstetrician // "It can affect thyroid function in the fetus, and we know that the thyroid function and the levels of hormones in the fetus are important in development of the brain."

But ABC's doctor Richard Besser says the study did *not* look into *why* the women were taking the drug in the first place.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health & Medical Editor // "If they were having some kind of medical condition that led them to take the drug, it may be that that is what is leading to the increased risk of Attention Deficit Disorder."

And both doctors agree more studies are needed.
Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health & Medical Editor // "The take away for consumers and for pregnant women is - look - you don't want to take a medicine unless you need to  but if you need to this is a drug that has a long track history and I think you should be comfortable still taking it."

Before taking any medication you should always consult your doctor.
Some physicians believe pregnant women who exercise regularly have less complaints of pain.

HEALTH NEWS: Acetaminophen may cause behavorial problems in unborn children
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