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Is Tylenol Safe During Pregnancy?


Posted on Nov 26, 2013

Numerous women take over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. Experts are now saying it could have serious side effects on the development of the baby.

Reuters reports on the side effects of Tylenol in pregnant women.

“Expectant mothers often take Tylenol, with the active ingredient acetaminophen, to deal with back pain, headaches or mild fevers during pregnancy. But frequent use may be linked to poorer language skills and behavior problems among their children, according to a new study,” according to Reuters.

Countless women take Tylenol for headaches and have made it the most popular over-the-counter drug in the country. Yet experts are testing it to see how safe it truly is.

The lead author of the study on the effects of Tylenol in babies of mothers who took it for headaches told Reuters, "Our findings suggest that (acetaminophen) might not be as harmless as we think. Long-term use of (acetaminophen) increased the risk of behavior problems by 70 percent at age three. That is considerable. It's difficult to define risks for pregnant women and their children, since rigorous tests and controlled studies of drug exposure aren't ethical." 

The study looked at around 48,000 children whose mothers had taken Tylenol during pregnancy. “Their children seemed to have poorer motor skills than kids whose mothers had taken the drug fewer times or not at all. Tylenol-exposed kids also tended to start walking later, have poorer communication and language skills and more behavior problems,” according to Reuters. One expert told Reuters, "Sixty-five percent of women will take this drug at some point during pregnancy. Some people just pop Tylenol when they have a headache. With every choice you make, make the healthy choice.”

COMMENT...

The article that refers to this Tylenol study certainly does not appear to be conclusive and instead raises more questions than it answers.

Here's why...

Some researchers did this study. They concluded that there were behavioral problems in children of mom's who had taken Tylenol during their pregnancies. The article doesn't say if there were other issues or medical problems that could have also caused or contributed to these behavioral problems. They merely make a connection between pregnant moms who took Tylenol and those who didn't.

As the study's lead author even says, there's no way to ethically test further to confirm whether acetominophen is the main factor that is leading to these emotional problems in kids.

What do you think? Does the article suggest there's a signficant connection between the Tylenol and the behavioral problem or do you think it's inconclusive?

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