(WSVN) – A recently released study suggests that exposure to the painkiller acetaminophen during pregnancy is linked to a higher risk of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder in children.
The study, published Oct. 30 in JAMA Psychiatry, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.
According to a news release from the NIH, the study looked at a group of 996 mother-infant dyads. Researchers collected umbilical cord blood from the births and measured the amount of acetaminophen and two of its byproducts in each sample.
By the time the children were an average of 8.9 years old, 25.8% had been diagnosed with ADHD only, 6.6% with ASD only and 4.2% with ADHD and ASD.
The researchers then classified the amount of acetaminophen and its byproducts in the samples into thirds, from lowest to highest.
“Compared to the lowest third, the middle third of exposure was associated with about 2.26 times the risk for ADHD,” the NIH said in the release. “The highest third of exposure was associated with 2.86 times the risk. Similarly, ASD risk was higher for those in the middle third (2.14 times) and highest third (3.62 times).”
Authors for the study concluded that “their results support earlier studies linking acetaminophen exposure in the womb with ADHD and ASD and underscore the need for additional research.”
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