May 20, 2022

Experts warn that taking common pain relievers during pregnancy is risky


A common over-the-counter pain reliever called acetaminophen (paracetamol) is the subject of a new consensus statement from researchers concerned about its potential risk when taken during pregnancy. The editorial summarizes the existing data on the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and its potential to cause fetal development problems.

Acetaminophen is considered an acceptable way to treat milder pain during pregnancy, assuming it is taken as directed or as directed by a physician. However, a growing number of studies have questioned the pain reliever’s safety for the developing fetus, raising concerns about a potential contribution to ADHD and other neurological problems.

The new statement summarizing the potential risks of acetaminophen when taken during pregnancy also includes evidence indicating possible urogenital and reproductive disorders. This is of particular concern because acetaminophen is an ingredient in hundreds of medications, many of which are available over the counter to treat things like fever and body aches.

The professionals explain in their press release:

As scientists, medical experts and public health professionals, we are concerned about the increasing rates of neurological, urogenital and reproductive disorders. We are seeing a worrying increase in the number of children with cognitive, learning and / or behavioral problems […] The data confirm the contribution of environmental exposure during fetal life, including exposure to pharmaceuticals, to these increases in rates of neurological, urogenital and reproductive disorders.

Although the consensus statement does not call on pregnant women to avoid acetaminophen altogether, it says, “We believe the potential for harm from continued inaction outweighs the harm that could result from precautionary action. ”

Among other things, experts recommend that pregnant women avoid using acetaminophen unless it is “medically indicated” and talk to their pharmacist or doctor first before using the drug for a long time. term, among others. Additionally, experts suggest that the risk should be minimized by taking the lowest effective dose of acetaminophen and using it only for “the shortest time possible.”