A recent study held by British researchers suggests pain drugs, such as acetaminophen, during pregnancy, could mean behavioral and emotional issues in children.
During the pregnancy stage, moms are more susceptible to suffering headaches, fever and all sorts of pains. Acetaminophen has been proven to be a safe drug for expectant mothers, but a recent study might disprove that information. The investigation was based on previous studies that suggested the drug caused issues on children. Researchers analyzed the data of over 7,800 mothers to understand the harmful possibilities.
The study, led by Ph.D. Evie Stergiakouli, found that 5 percent of the children in the investigation had shown behavioral issues by the time they were 7-years old. Risks of conduct issues, emotional problems, and hyperactivity were also found.
Could acetaminophen affect children?
Acetaminophen is one of the most shared and well-known pain relievers in the world, the drug also known as paracetamol works in relieving pain aches, fever, and headaches. Many medications hold acetaminophen as an active ingredient, such as Tylenol, flu medication, prescription medicines and others. The drug has also become very popular among expectant mothers because the lack of side effects.
Although the team that investigated the drug stated that it was still safe to use, they decided to put under the scope the odds of having children with behavioral and emotional issues. The team of British researchers decided to analyze two types of acetaminophen and behavioral issues relation, by dividing the research into prenatal and postnatal usage of the pain drug.
Women were asked about the usage of the drug during the first 18 weeks of gestation and the usage at 32 weeks of pregnancy. Further, mothers were asked about ingesting the drug when their kids were 5-years old.
The study found that of the 7,800 women in the survey, 53 percent of them had taken acetaminophen at 18 weeks of gestation and 42 percent took the drug at 31 weeks of pregnancy. Five years after the women gave birth, 80 percent of them reported using the drug as well as their partners.
Study authors found no relationship between using the drug after birth with the children’s behavioral issues but the odds for problems while prenatal gestation was high for all the cases. Despite the findings, the study has limitations that don’t allow the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), to balance the harmful and positive outcomes of using acetaminophen.
“It is still appropriate to use acetaminophen during pregnancy because there is a risk of not treating fever or pain during pregnancy,” assured author Evie Stergiakouli in a statement to Reuters.
The study lack information of the duration and amount of pills the mothers used during pregnancy, it is also based on the information provided by the parents and their memory of how and when they took the pills while pregnant.
Other studies have also tried to find a link between acetaminophen and behavioral issues, but the lack of information have ended on the same limitations that the British study. The research has been published in the journal Jama Pediatrics on August 15th.