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Study Links Acetaminophen Use By Pregnant Women To ADHD In Children

CBS New York (con't)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A warning for pregnant women: A popular over-the-counter pain reliever may put your unborn child at risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

As CBS 2′s Dr. Max Gomez reported, acetaminophen is the most common pain reliever expectant moms use because it has been thought to be safer during pregnancy than aspirin and similar drugs that cause blood-clotting problems. But researchers at UCLA now suggest it may not be as safe as once believed.

“Medication that we thought was fairly safe to use during pregnancy for pain relief actually might increase the chance of a child to later develop ADHD,” said Dr. Beate Ritz, one of the authors of the study, which appears in this week’s online edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Scientists looked at data from a 17-year study that followed 64,000 mothers and children in Demark. They found the link to ADHD and the more severe form of hyperkinetic disorder was the strongest the longer a woman took acetaminophen into the second and third trimesters.

“It is repeated use,” Ritz said. “It’s long-term use during pregnancy.”

Thirty-eight-year-old Rebecca Barragan, who is due in August with her second child, said she plans to talk to her doctor about the new findings.

“I would probably steer clear from it while I’m pregnant and power through a headache or any bit of pain that I would have,” she said.

The report comes on the heels of the FDA lowering the safe dose of acetaminophen amid reports of the drug causing liver failure in higher doses.

While experts say acetaminophen is likely still safe for occasional use, they say if you need a pain killer while pregnant, talk to your doctor first.

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