A new study finds acetaminophen may be exposing unborn babies to an increased risk of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Acetaminophen is commonly taken by pregnant women to relieve headaches, fever and pain.
Researchers at UCLA studied more than 64,000 mothers and their children from 1996 to 2002. More than half the women reported using acetaminophen while pregnant, and among those women, the results showed a higher risk of children having ADHD behaviors. The results of the study were published Monday by the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
A UCLA obstetrician not involved in the study, Dr. Daniel Kahn, told the LA Times that the results show that pregnant women should take the lowest effective dose of any medicine, even if it has been determined to be safe. At the same time, Kahn also said the study would not lead him to advise against the use of acetaminophen in pregnancy altogether.
"It certainly wouldn’t stop me from treating a fever,” he said, noting that unchecked fevers have been associated with a number of poor health outcomes in babies, including lowered IQs.