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Foetal exposure to acetaminophen tied to increased risk for ADHD, autism

Elaine Soliven
01 Dec 2019

Foetal acetaminophen exposure may increase a child’s risk for attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a new study.

Researchers analysed data from 996 mother-infant dyads, which were a subset of the Boston Birth Cohort, from October 1998 and June 2018 and measured three cord acetaminophen metabolites — unchanged acetaminophen, acetaminophen glucuronide, and 3-[N-acetyl-L-cystein-S-yl]-acetaminophen — in archived cord plasma samples collected at birth.

Included in the final sample were 257 children (25.8 percent) with ADHD only, 66 (6.6 percent) with ASD only, 42 (4.2 percent) with both ADHD and ASD, 304 (30.5 percent) with other developmental disabilities, and 327 (32.8 percent) who were neurotypical. Unchanged acetaminophen levels were detected in all cord plasma samples. [JAMA Psychiatry 2019;doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3259]

Being in the second and third tertiles of cord acetaminophen burden was associated with higher odds of ADHD diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] for second tertile, 2.26, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.4–3.69; OR for third tertile, 2.86, 95 percent CI, 1.77–4.67), and ASD diagnosis (OR for second tertile, 2.14, 95 percent CI, 0.93–5.13 and OR for third tertile, 3.62, 95 percent CI, 1.62–8.6).

There were consistent associations between acetaminophen burden and ADHD and acetaminophen burden and ASD which persisted across strata of potential confounders, such as child age and sex, preterm birth, substance use, and maternal indication.

“We identified a significant positive association between cord plasma acetaminophen metabolites and the risk for ADHD diagnosis and the risk for ASD in childhood,” said Yuelong Ji, a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, US. “The significant positive associations between cord acetaminophen and ADHD and the cord acetaminophen and ASD were observed across strata of pertinent covariates, including maternal fever during pregnancy, which is an indicator for acetaminophen use”.

“Our findings, the first to investigate associations between neurodevelopmental disabilities with adjustments for potential covariates and cord plasma metabolites of acetaminophen, support previous studies regarding the association between prenatal and perinatal acetaminophen exposure and childhood neurodevelopmental risk,” said the researchers.
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Most Read Articles
29 Jul 2020
Adjunctive perampanel appears to be safe and effective for long-term treatment of patients with tonic‐clonic seizures, according to a posthoc analysis.
11 Aug 2020
During the Allergic Rhinitis (AR) Boot Camp held in conjunction with the Bayer Pharmacist Congress 2020, Professor Dr Baharudin Abdullah discussed the management of AR in the primary care setting and the importance of using patient profiles to guide the choice of antihistamines.
Elaine Soliven, 18 Sep 2020
Adding mepolizumab to standard of care treatment significantly reduces nasal polyp size and obstruction in adults with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP), according to the SYNAPSE* study presented at ERS 2020.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 18 Feb 2020
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