Pregnant women who take paracetamol could lower their child's IQ and raise their risk of autism, research finds
No drug is free of side-effects but I have long noted that paracetamol (APAP) is much more dangerous than aspirin, principally because of its well-established liver toxicity. The findings below would seem to add to that message but maybe not. People who take a lot of painkillers are probably of worse health overall. So maybe all we are seeing is that the children of unhealthy mother are unhealthy too.
The journal article is "Prenatal Exposure to Acetaminophen and Risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression Analysis of Cohort Studies" and the authors there are also cautious about the meaning of the findings. They say: "These findings are concerning; however, results should be interpreted with caution given that the available evidence consists of observational studies and is susceptible to several potential sources of bias.
Women who take paracetamol during pregnancy risk lowering their child's IQ, a study has revealed. Taking the drug is also associated with a higher risk of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autism.
Researchers from US universities, including Harvard, reviewed nine studies that looked at 150,000 mothers and babies in total. Their findings suggest that the balance of hormones in the uterus are altered by taking paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen (APAP).
One study analysed found a three-point drop in IQ for five-year-old children whose mothers had taken paracetamol for pain relief without fever. Other research shows youngsters exposed to the drug in the womb struggled with speech.
It's not the first time scientists have found a link between paracetamol use and delayed speech.
In January, research from New York found that taking the go-to-pain relieving drug during pregnancy delays babies' speech by up to six times.
Expectant mothers who take acetaminophen more than six times during their early pregnancies are significantly more likely to have daughters with limited vocabularies, the study found.
Paracetamol is generally available without prescription and is the most commonly used medication in pregnancy.
Research this year has shown the common painkiller can raise a child's risk of ADHD by up to 30 per cent, and up to a 20 per cent for autism, when taken by their mothers.
The study, led by Dr Ilan Matok, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, analysed 132,738 mother-child pairs over three-to-11 years.
Dr Matok said: 'Our findings suggest an association between prolonged acetaminophen use and an increase in the risk of autism and ADHD.'