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Acetaminophen in pregnancy linked to ‘ADHD-like behaviors’

Medication pills presciption

Doctors frequently recommend acetaminophen, commonly found in over-the-counter pain relievers including Tylenol, to pregnant women for treating mild pain.

But a new study out of Denmark suggests the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy could be associated with ADHD-like behavioral problems in children.

The study, published Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed data from more than 64,000 children enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort study between 1996 and 2002.

Mothers in the cohort study reported on their children’s behavior, and the researchers looked at databases to determine how many prescriptions for ADHD drugs were written and how many children received a diagnosis of a severe form of ADHD called hyperkinetic disorder, or HKD.

The study authors concluded that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen may increase the risk of a child being diagnosed with HKD or being prescribed ADHD medications and “exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors.” It’s important to note that ADHD-like behaviors are not the same as having ADHD.