Although short-term use of acetaminophen for pregnant women was not associated with a future ADHD diagnosis in their offspring, long-term maternal use of the drug for fever and infection results in a more than two-fold increase in the likelihood of their children developing the condition.
“Each patient is unique, and each physician will know what is best for their patient,” Eivind Ystrom, PhD, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, told Infectious Diseases in Children. “The most important thing is that doctors make women with chronic conditions aware that they should consult them about pain relief if they get pregnant.”
New research found that long-term prenatal exposure to acetaminophen linked to ADHD.
To evaluate the connection between the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy, paternal use prior to pregnancy and future risk of ADHD in offspring, researchers collected diagnoses from the Norwegian Patient Registry regarding 112,973 children included in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Of these children, 2,246 had ADHD diagnoses.
When adjusting for maternal use of acetaminophen prior to pregnancy, familial risk for ADHD and indications of acetaminophen use, researchers noted a mild association between any maternal use of the drug during pregnancy in the first (HR = 1.07; 95% CI 0.96-1.19) or third trimesters (HR = 1.27; 95% CI 0.99-1.63). When pregnant women used acetaminophen for more than 29 days, the hazard ratio was 2.20 (95% CI 1.50-3.24).
Women who used the drug for fewer than 8 days had a negative association with ADHD (HR = 0.09; 95% CI, 0.81-1.00). A link between ADHD diagnoses in offspring and maternal acetaminophen use was observed when mothers used the drug for 22 to 28 days for the treatment of fever and infections (HR = 6.15; 95% CI 1.71-22.05). Paternal use of acetaminophen was similar to maternal use regarding diagnosis.
“Most acetaminophen use is short-term. Perhaps our findings that short-term use is safe can give physicians a reference for concerned pregnant women,” Ystrom said. “Previous studies have been unclear on the safety of short-term use.” – by Katherine Bortz
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.