Acetaminophen in pregnancy: Is it really safe? : Medical News Today


With up to 70 percent of pregnant American women reaching for acetaminophen to treat pain, infection, and fever, debate about the drug’s safety is ongoing. New research has brought further risks to light.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) always recommend consulting a doctor prior to using any pain medication during pregnancy.

Acetaminophen — also known as paracetamol — is a widely available over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller, used by 65–70 percent of pregnant women in the United States.

But it is also a component of many other drugs, such as those used to treat symptoms of the common cold or flu, allergies, and sleep problems.

Research into the drug’s safety during pregnancy is ongoing, with little in the way of definitive conclusions. The FDA point out that “severe and persistent pain that is not effectively treated during pregnancy can result in depressionanxiety, and high blood pressure in the mother.”

“However, it is important to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of using prescription and OTC pain medicines during pregnancy,” the statement continues.

As an expectant mother myself, I’ve been keeping a close eye on any studies into the drug’s effect. Evidence of a link between attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy has been steadily mounting over the past few years.

In the past week, two new studies have joined the ranks, and they point to the potential effects on fertility and language development after acetaminophen use.

Here is what you need to know.

ADHD and behavioral problems

While there have been many efforts in the past to untangle a possible link between ADHD and acetaminophen use, the FDA have been critical of many of these.

Source: Acetaminophen in pregnancy: Is it really safe? : Medical News Today

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