A new study suggests that pregnant women who take paracetamol may be increasing the risk of their children developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The study, carried out by Auckland University, appears to confirm the findings of an earlier Danish study that provided a link between paracetamol, the most commonly taken painkiller, and behavioural disorders in children.
The study analysed the data gathered from 871 children in Europe, some of whose mothers had used a variety of painkillers, including aspirin and antacids, during their pregnancies. The researchers then analysed children aged between 7 and 11 who exhibited behavioural disorder symptoms. They found that almost 50% of those women who had taken paracetamol while pregnant were more likely to have children with ADHD than the other drugs.
Dr John Thompson, the leader of the study, said: “The finding that even low doses of paracetamol (indicated by the number of weeks of drug exposure) can affect behaviour seven years later is alarming because it is the most commonly used antenatal drug.”
However, Dr Thompson admitted that the study had its limitations, and stated that more research was needed to provide a more precise assessment of the risks associated with paracetamol.
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