This August 15, 2016 article in JAMA looked at whether Tylenol was safe during pregnancy. This study concluded that acetaminophen was associated child conduct disorders during childhood.
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is considered safe for use during all stages of pregnancy, making it the most common pain and fever medication for pregnant women. Over 50% pregnant women use the medication
Animal studies suggest that acetaminophen use in pregnancy can have important implications for neurodevelopment; acetaminophen administration during neonatal brain development in mice affected cognitive function and disrupted levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) in the brain. The mechanism might involve disrupted endocrine function, which is important for neurodevelopment. For example, acetaminophen use in pregnancy has been found to disrupt endocrine testicular function in male embryos, and long-term acetaminophen use has been linked to an increase in risk of cryptorchidism.
Acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of hyperkinetic disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)-like behaviors. This has been observed in a very large sample of children and their mothers from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Similar results were also reported in a cohort of children and their mothers from New Zealand. In addition, a sibling-controlled cohort study that partially controlled for familial confounding found that long-term acetaminophen use during pregnancy was associated with adverse developmental outcomes at age 3 years.
In this study, we assessed associations between behavioral problems in offspring at age 7 years in the ALSPAC population cohort and (1) maternal prenatal acetaminophen use, (2) maternal postnatal acetaminophen use, (3) partner’s acetaminophen use.