Pregnant women have been lead to believe that the painkiller Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a safe for developing fetuses, but two new studies show that prenatal exposure to the widely used medicine can increase the risk of asthma or hyperactivity by the time that child reaches 7 years of age.
The first study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, evaluated more than 53,000 children from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study for current asthma at ages 3 and 7. Researchers also noted maternal use of acetaminophen during pregnancy. They found that women who used the pain reliever while pregnant increased their 7-year-old’s risk of asthma by 12 percent.
The second study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, involved data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children involving 7,796 mothers along with their children and partners. Researchers assessed acetaminophen use in pregnant women at 18 and 32 weeks gestation, then again when the child was 61 months old. They found that a mother’s use of acetaminophen in mid-pregnancy increased their 7-year-old’s risk of hyperactivity by 31 percent.
Last year – before the new studies were released – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed data on the effects of acetaminophen on developing fetuses, but the agency said it was unable to conclude whether the painkiller posed a risk to unborn children. The agency said it was aware of the new studies and is “actively reviewing” the new research.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson, maker of the over-the-counter acetaminophen Tylenol, said it wasn’t aware of the links between acetaminophen and asthma or hyperactivity, but if consumers had concerns they should talk with their doctors.
Source: New York Times