Paracetamol is dangerous for pregnant women


Paracetamol is dangerous for pregnant women


Paracetamol is dangerous for pregnant women


Until now, it was believed that acetaminophen, most often known as paracetamol, is one of the drugs that pregnant women can safely take. Spanish scientists say otherwise.

Researchers from the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona found a link between the use of acetaminophen in a pregnant woman and the later symptoms of autism and ADHD in the child.


The results of most previous studies on the safety of paracetamol in pregnancy were of no concern. One of them, conducted in 2010 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed no increased risk of birth defects in children whose mothers took acetaminophen during pregnancy. And in several others, it was even argued that the risk of defects was lower in the groups of children whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.


However, studies have already appeared suggesting that acetaminophen may interfere with the normal development of the fetal brain. The authors of one of these studies, published in JAMA in 2014, suggested that the effect of this influence may be an increased risk of ADHD in a child.


The latest Spanish study included 2,644 pregnant women. At 12 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, the study participants completed questionnaires in which they were asked about taking paracetamol (frequency) - both before and during pregnancy. In the next stage of the study, the neuropsychological development of children was assessed twice - the first time when they were 1 year old and the second time when they were 5 years old.


About 43 percent of the mothers took paracetamol during the first 32 weeks of pregnancy. Their 5-year-old children were found to be a 30% higher incidence of attention deficits compared to babies whose mothers did not take this drug during pregnancy. The incidence of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior was also higher. These children also scored worse in tests examining the speed of processing visual stimuli.

Moreover, in boys exposed to acetaminophen in utero, clinical signs of autism were more frequently observed. Their intensity was proportional to the frequency of using paracetamol by the mother during pregnancy. According to the authors of the study, this finding may help explain why autistic disorders are more common in boys than in girls. However, many additional studies are still needed to establish the detailed mechanism of the adverse effects of acetaminophen on the brain of the developing fetus.



 

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