Study suggests acetaminophen taken during pregnancy linked to ADHD in babies

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WASHINGTON —

There are concerns that pregnant women who take acetaminophen may be exposing their unborn babies to increased health risks.

Acetaminophen is commonly taken by pregnant women to relieve headaches, fever and pain.

But now a new study finds the drug may be exposing unborn babies to an increased risk of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

Researchers at UCLA studied more than 64,000 mothers and their children from 1996 to 2002.
        
More than half reported using acetaminophen while pregnant, and the results show a higher risk of children having ADHD behaviors.

But ABC News chief health & medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said the study didn't look into why the women were taking the drug in the first place.

“If they were having some kind of medical condition that led them to take the drug, it may be that is what is leading to the increased risk of attention deficit disorder," Besser said.

Besser said what pregnant women should take away from this study is to take a medicine only if you absolutely need to, and that women should still feel comfortable taking acetaminophen.