Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Acetominophens and ADHD: A Very Strong Link


Recent research out of Norway suggests that one of the most common pain relievers,  may have an effect on whether a child develops ADHD.  

The findings might paint part of the picture on why the last decades have seen a substantial increase in ADHD diagnosis; Acetaminophens are  one of the most common drug ingredient,  found in more than 600 different over-the-counter and prescription medicines, including generic and store brand pain relievers, fever reducers, and sleep aids as well as cough, cold, and allergy medicines.  Among them: 



Tylenol, 
Alka-Seltzer Plus, 
Cepacol®

Contac®

Coricidin®
Dayquil®
Dimetapp®
Dristan®
Excedrin®
Feverall®
Formula 44®
Goody’s® Powders
Liquiprin®
Midol®
Mucinex®
Nyquil®
Panadol®
Robitussin®
Saint Joseph® Aspirin-Free
Singlet®
Sinutab®
Sudafed®
Theraflu®
Triaminic®
TYLENOL® Brand Products
Vanquish®
Vicks®
*And store brands

THE FINDINGS
Children of women who used acetaminophen for under eight days while pregnant did not have an increased likelihood of developing ADHD. 

- After 7 days of acetaminophen use by the pregnant mother,  ADHD risk increased with the number of days exposed reaching a peak at 22 to 28 days , which was strongly associated with ADHD - resulting in more than a twofold increase in risk for offspring. 

-Interestingly, prenatal and extensive (29 days or more) paternal  use of acetaminophen was similarly associated with ADHD.


WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU
Men
IF you and your partner are looking to become pregnant you should cease long term usage of all acetaminophens.

WOMEN
Considering pregnant women are rarely encouraged to take medication during pregnancy, acetaminophens - which have traditionally been considered safe for use during pregnancy- are a saving grace for many expecting mothers dealing with pain, fever, inflammation etc.    In fact, 65% to 70% of pregnant women in the United States and 50% to 60% of pregnant women in western and northern Europe use the drugs during pregnancy.

However, other recent research has shown that these drugs do cross the placenta, reach the developing fetus and seemingly affecting his/her developing brain.  

In addition to this study's links to ADHD, extensive use (over 7 days) of these drugs has also been found to be associated with:
-  poorer motor and communicational development and externalizing problems (ie, inattentiveness and aggression)

If you are pregnant talk to your doctor about this new study.  Strongly consider avoiding extensive use of acetominophens during pregnancy.   If you have a persistent discomfort or pain perhaps consider exploring alternative therapies first (ie acupuncture or massage from trained and reliable sources).  

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