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Study: Acetaminophen During Pregnancy Linked To Childhood ADHD

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you don’t recognize the name acetaminophen it’s the active ingredient listed on the back of every bottle of Tylenol and it is the drug most commonly used by pregnant women.

A new study may have some women thinking twice about taking the medication. Researchers found that the more often women take acetaminophen the more likely they may be to have children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

With a baby on the way, Victoria Corts is paying close attention to what she puts in her body. “There’s so much out there you’re not supposed to do,” she said.

Extra Strength Tylenol capsules are displayed. (credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Extra Strength Tylenol capsules are displayed. (credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

When Corts caught a cold, her doctor recommended Tylenol for a headache. She remembered, “He just said, ‘take the lowest possible dose you can and don’t go crazy.’”

Now a new study published in the February 24 edition of JAMA Pediatrics says acetaminophen is used by more than half of all pregnant women in the U.S.

♦♦♦ Click Here To Read The JAMA Study ♦♦♦

The same study discovered that children in Denmark, whose mothers took acetaminophen, were 13-percent more likely to have symptoms of ADHD. Those children were also 29-percent more likely to receive medication for ADHD and 37-perent more likely to be diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, which resembles severe ADHD.

Dr. LeAnn Haddock, a physician at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, is preparing for the repercussions of the study. “I’m sure I’m gonna have quite a few calls from pregnant women panicking… that they took a Tylenol last night and have now ruined their child for life.”

Dr. Haddock said Tylenol is still the safest choice for pain relief during pregnancy and may sometimes be less of a risk than the symptom it’s treating.

“As with anything, you need to limit it, use it in moderation,” urged Dr. Haddock. “If you’re using Tylenol in excessive doses for some reason, let’s look at that. Let’s factor in why you are needing it. Let’s find other things that will help.”

Ultimately Dr. Haddock believes there’s no reason to panic and that there’s a lot more research that needs to be done. But if a woman is pregnant and taking pain medication on a regular basis, she suggests checking in with your doctor.

Tylenol isn’t the only medicine containing acetaminophen. Click here for a list of other common medicines containing the drug.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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