Urgent Health Alert for Expectant Women - Tylenol Use in Pregnancy Linked to Autism/ADHD

For years, Tylenol has been considered a safe choice for treating mild to moderate pain during pregnancy, and some 65% of American women report taking Tylenol or another acetaminophen product while pregnant, many at the recommendation of their healthcare provider. Yet emerging evidence indicates that maternal Tylenol use may not be as safe as was once believed. In fact, research suggests that women who take acetaminophen while pregnant may be more likely to have children who later in childhood develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), two developmental disorders that can severely affect a child’s behavior and ability to learn, socialize, and concentrate. If you took Tylenol while pregnant and your child has been diagnosed with autism or ADHD, don’t hesitate to speak to a knowledgeable Tylenol autism attorney about your legal options.

History of Tylenol Use in Pregnancy

For decades expectant mothers have been falsely told that Tylenol is completely safe to take during pregnancy.

Tylenol is the brand name of paracetamol, also known as acetaminophen, a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. For decades, Tylenol has been marketed as a safe and effective treatment for mild to moderate pain and has even been deemed appropriate for use among pregnant women who may encounter frequent headaches, back pain, or other types of pain. As a group of leading scientists, medical experts, and public health professionals noted in a 2021 consensus statement published in the journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology, “APAP is widely used by pregnant women, as the FDA and EMA have long considered APAP-containing products to be of minimal risk when used as directed during pregnancy.” In addition to Tylenol, acetaminophen can be found in more than 600 other prescription and over-the-counter cough, cold, and flu medications, including Excedrin, NyQuil, Benadryl, and Robitussin.

Acetaminophen Linked to Autism, ADHD

Although federal regulators still recommend Tylenol as a medication that is generally safe to take while pregnant, studies published over the past several years have raised important questions about the actual safety of Tylenol use in pregnancy. As the authors of that same consensus statement warned in 2021, “increasing experimental and epidemiological research suggests that prenatal exposure to APAP might alter fetal development, which could increase the risks of some neurodevelopmental, reproductive and urogenital disorders.” Among these disorders are autism and ADHD, both of which are on the rise in the United States. Between 2009 and 2017, about one in six children aged 3-17 was diagnosed with a developmental disability, according to the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, an annual study of the health of the U.S. population. “Based on this research, we believe we know enough to be concerned about the potential developmental risks associated with prenatal APAP exposure and therefore call for precautionary action.” 

The doctors and scientists behind the 2021 consensus study have a great deal of research to support their call for “precautionary action,” including a 2021 study of prenatal and postnatal exposure to acetaminophen in relation to autism and ADHD symptoms developing in childhood. According to the study authors, children with prenatal exposure to Tylenol had a 19% increased risk of developing autism and a 21% increased risk of developing ADHD, compared to non-exposed children. In a 2019 study funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, researchers looked at samples of umbilical cord blood from 996 live births. They found that the group with the highest acetaminophen exposure had about three times the risk of developing ASD or ADHD by the time they were around eight or nine years old, compared to the group with the lowest exposure.

Tylenol Lawsuits Filed by Families Nationwide

“A study conducted by Johns Hopkins and published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2019, measured acetaminophen in newborn umbilical cord blood. It found that children with the highest levels of the drug in their cord blood were 3.62 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD and 2.86 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.”

In light of recent research linking Tylenol to autism and ADHD, serious concerns have been raised about the possible side effects of Tylenol, particularly among the children of women who take the popular pain reliever during pregnancy. Product liability lawyers are now investigating claims on behalf of families across the country who say their children developed autism and/or ADHD as a result of acetaminophen exposure in utero. Dozens of Tylenol lawsuits have already been brought against Johnson & Johnson, each raising similar allegations that the pharmaceutical giant knew or should have known that Tylenol use in pregnancy can increase the risk of autism and/or ADHD and was negligent in failing to provide warnings about this risk to users. In October 2022, a Tylenol class action lawsuit was certified in New York, where all federal Tylenol autism lawsuits will be centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). 

Find Out if You May Qualify for Compensation

With growing evidence suggesting a link between Tylenol use during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism and ADHD, the number of Tylenol and acetaminophen lawsuits is expected to reach into the thousands. Contact an experienced Tylenol autism attorney as soon as possible if your child has shown signs of autism and/or ADHD and you suspect in-utero acetaminophen exposure to be the cause. You may qualify for compensation for the harm your child and family have suffered.

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Did you have a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or  Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after use of products containing Acetaminophen/Tylenol during the second or third trimesters of  pregnancy?

You and/or your child may qualify for significant compensation.

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