Too much Tylenol in pregnancy could affect development

(Reuters Health) – Expectant mothers often take Tylenol, with the active ingredient acetaminophen, to deal with back pain, headaches or mild fevers during pregnancy. But frequent use may be linked to poorer language skills and behavior problems among their children, according to a new study.

As the most popular over-the-counter drug in the U.S., Tylenol has been extensively studied in relation to premature birth and miscarriage, with no connections found.

But its maker Johnson & Johnson periodically comes under fire for the drug’s small therapeutic index – that is, the difference between an effective dose and a dangerous dose is quite small. So interest in investigating the drug persists.

The new study is the first to look at young children whose mothers took Tylenol while pregnant.

“Our findings suggest that (acetaminophen) might not be as harmless as we think,” Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen said. She led the study at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Oslo in Norway.

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