Acetaminophen has always been one of the most commonly used medications during pregnancy. It is reported that 65%-70% of women use acetaminophen at least once during their pregnancy due to the safety associated with it. In 2015, the FDA stated that there is a possible risk of ADHD developing in children who were exposed to acetaminophen prenatally.
After reviewing several previous studies, it was found that no certain relationship can be identified between prenatal exposure to acetaminophen and the development of ADHD. This is partly caused by the fact that diagnosing methods of ADHD have also changed. There are new medications now that are extended release to treat ADHD. These factors affect the number of children being reported to have ADHD, typically increasing it. It is not clear if there is actually an increase in the number of children with ADHD or if it is just being correctly diagnosed now.
The article explains that pharmacists should continue to recommend the lowest effective dose of acetaminophen. They should also make an effort to educate other health care providers and the expecting mothers of the importance of using acetaminophen properly. Other than these suggestions, what else could pharmacists due to prevent any additional side effects of common medications to pregnant women?
Hoover RM, Hayes AG, Erramouspe J. Association Between Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure and Future Risk of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children. Ann Pharmacother. 2015: 49(12); 1357-1361. http://aop.sagepub.com/content/49/12/1357.full.pdf