Research Links Acetaminophen to ADHD and Autism

Long considered the safe go-to pain reliever for pregnant women, Tylenol has recently come under fire for its potential risk to unborn babies. Recent research has reported links between prenatal exposure to acetaminophen and later developmental problems in children. Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hasn’t changed its stance on the drug’s safety, a study published in the journal PLOS ONE in September labeled the link a “public health concern.”

What is Acetaminophen?

Found in Tylenol, Midol, Nyquil and other medications, acetaminophen (also called paracetamol) is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. In fact, it is the active ingredient in more than 600 pain relievers and fever reducers, according to Nature Reviews Endocrinology. Because NSAIDs like ibuprofen are generally not recommended in later pregnancy, acetaminophen is considered one of the only safe pain relievers for pregnant women. In the U.S., as many as 65% of pregnant women may use the drug.

Is Tylenol Safe During Pregnancy?

In a 2021 Nature Reviews Endocrinology article, dozens of health professionals addressed concerns about the link between Tylenol use in pregnancy and abnormal development of the baby. They conclude with a recommendation that pregnant women “minimize risk” by using the lowest effective acetaminophen dose for the shortest possible time.

The article cites studies that “consistently suggest” that prenatal exposure to the drug could raise the risk of developmental and behavioral problems, including the following:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Decreased intelligence quotient (IQ)
  • Language delay (in girls)

Corroborating previous research, the 2022 PLOS ONE study reported that children exposed to the drug in utero were significantly more likely to have attention problems and sleep issues at 3 years of age.

Have Tylenol ADHD Lawsuits and Tylenol Autism Lawsuits Been Filed?

Parents with children who have been diagnosed with neurobehavioral problems — including ADHD and ASD — are now taking their concerns to court. Acetaminophen lawsuits claim that manufacturers should have warned pregnant women of the potential risks to their unborn children. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked a panel of federal judges to consolidate the suits into a multi-district litigation (MDL) case so they can share information.

Bloomberg reports that women in seven states have filed 87 complaints so far against the sellers of store-brand acetaminophen products, including CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens. For now, plaintiffs have not yet named Tylenol manufacturer Johnson & Johnson or other makers of the hundreds of medications that contain the drug. But Tylenol pregnancy lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson may soon follow.

Can a Tylenol Lawsuit Attorney Help Me?

If you used Tylenol or another acetaminophen product during pregnancy and your child was later diagnosed with a neurobehavioral issue — including autism spectrum disorder, developmental delays, or attention disorders (such as hyperactivity) — you may qualify for financial compensation. Taking on a large pharmaceutical company may seem overwhelming, but an experienced drug injury attorney can help.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our defective medication lawyers have been representing clients harmed by dangerous drugs for decades. We believe in holding companies accountable for faulty products and we have the knowledge needed to navigate complicated medical cases. Contact us today for a free consultation on your Tylenol pregnancy lawsuit.

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