Tylenol and the Effect on Moms

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Acetaminophen is a word that I have heard a lot of in the last few years. How bad is it? Does it help? Who cares?

It's the active ingredient found in most over the counter pain suppressants, such as Tylenol and Aleive. And now we are hearing that this very common drug may not be as safe as once believed.

Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes Tylenol, have been scrutinized many times in the past for the small gap between "recommended dosage," and "dangerous dosage," within their famous brand name drug. One might say Tylenol is as American as apple pie, or McDonalds.


The most recent study, conducted by the University of Oslo, in Norway, tested 48,000 children whose mothers filled out questionnaires on their medication usage during pregnancy (week 17 and week 30), along with a follow up 6 months after birth. Then the mothers reported on their children's development three years later.

About 4% of women took at least a month worth of Tylenol during pregnancy, and the study reported that these children had slower development, i.e. walking later, poorer communication skills, harder time grasping language, etc. . .

 " . . .this study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, involved a large number of women, and researchers also looked for any link to ibuprofen, a pain-relief alternative without acetaminophen.

"They found no development problems tied to ibuprofen," Reuters health reported Nov 22 of this year.

"Long-term use of (acetaminophen) increased the risk of behavior problems by 70 percent at age three," Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen, leader of the study at Oloso, said.

Company PR has always been there to mop up the damage of these claims though. A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson said that, "As the authors note in the study, there are no prospective, randomized controlled studies demonstrating a causal link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and adverse effects on child development."

Brandlistuen said that there needs to be more research done on this topic. And people shouldn't be prepared to jump to any conclusions.

All I can believe is what I see, and while I never will be a pregnant mother, I do try and avoid medication as much as possible. At a doctor's visit, not to long ago, I made note of his advice to, "Stay away from acetaminophen, as much as you can." And I personally intend to do just that.


The actual study : prenatal paracetamol exposure and child neurodevelopment: a sibling-controlled cohort study, Published October 24, 2013. http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/10/24/ije.dyt183.short?rss=1

Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/22/us-tylenol-pregnancy-idUSBRE9AL15L20131122

Picture: http://www.healthnowmedical.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/tylenol.jpg

1 Comment

It's kind of scary to hear that Tylenol should not be taken while pregnant because I feel that Tylenol is used all the time. It's a medicine that people use too much of when they should just stick the headache or soreness out. On this website there are ten other over the counter medicines listed and their reasons why not to use while pregnant. Some of them are like Tylenol where people use it more often than they need to. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/10-over-the-counter-drugs-to-avoid-during-pregnancy/index.htm

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