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Paracetamol in pregnancy could double child’s risk of attention deficit disorder

Paracetamol

Women who use a lot of the common pain reliever acetaminophen during pregnancy may be more likely to have children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than those who don’t use the drug, a Norwegian study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data on almost 113,000 children and their parents, including 2,246 kids who were diagnosed with ADHD. Almost half of the mothers took acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) at some point during pregnancy, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Using the drug during just one trimester was associated with 7 percent higher odds of having a child with ADHD, while the increased risk was 22 percent for women who used acetaminophen in two trimesters and 27 percent with use in all three trimesters, the study found.

Short-term use didn’t appear to increase the risk for ADHD. In fact, when women took acetaminophen for less than eight days, they were 10 percent less likely to have kids with ADHD than mothers who didn’t use the drug at all during pregnancy, the study found.

Women used the medicine for fever and infections for 22 to 28 days, however, were more than six times more likely to have kids with ADHD than mothers who avoided the drug during pregnancy.

“Surprisingly, adjusting for all the medical conditions related to acetaminophen use during pregnancy (example, infections and pain) and familial genetic risk for ADHD, children exposed to long-term use of acetaminophen use during pregnancy were more than two times more likely to have ADHD diagnosed by a specialist in a clinic,” said lead study author Eivind Ystrom of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the University of Oslo.

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