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Tylenol in Pregnancy Doubles Risk of Autism

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

tylenol during pregnancy causing autism

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  • Abnormal hormonal exposures in pregnancy can influence fetal brain development, and research published in 2014 warned acetaminophen is in fact a hormone disruptor
  • According to that 2014 study, use of acetaminophen during pregnancy was associated with a 37% increased risk of the child being diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder, a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • A 2019 study found that, compared to children of mothers with the lowest acetaminophen burden, children of mothers with the greatest exposure had a 286% higher risk for ADHD and a 362% higher risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the time they were about 9 years old
  • Findings published in 2016 revealed use of acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy were associated with a 42% higher risk of conduct problems and a 31% higher risk of hyperactivity symptoms in the child
  • Another 2016 investigation found children of both sexes whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were 41% more likely to present with ADHD symptoms at age 5. Boys were also more likely to have ASD

Many view over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as safe because they don't require a prescription. Nothing could be further from the truth. Acetaminophen, for example, (also known as paracetamol and sold under the brand name Tylenol among others) is actually one of the more dangerous drugs you can get your hands on.

Despite statistics showing acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S., most people don’t think twice before downing those pills. Acetaminophen is also found in a wide variety of products designed to treat headache, fever and cold symptoms, as well as in prescription pain medications mixed with codeine or hydrocodone. And, most households have more than one of the over-the-counter products, which could easily lead to overdosing.


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