Paracetamol in pregnancy: use may be associated with behavioral problems in childhood

Paracetamol in pregnancy

 Note – Hypothesis was raised in a British study, published by the journal JAMA Pediatrics

British researchers have found an association between paracetamol use during pregnancy and possible behavioral problems in children in the future. The study was published last Monday (15) in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The study analyzed data from 7,796 families (father, mother and children) who answered questions about the use of paracetamol during and after pregnancy. In addition, children were observed up to 5 years of age.

More than half of the pregnant women (53%) used the medication at least once in the 18th week of pregnancy, while 42% used it in the 32nd week. In comparison with those who reported that they did not use the medication during the gestational period, paracetamol use at the 18th and 32nd weeks of gestation was associated with a 42% increase in the risk of conduct problems and a 31% risk of symptoms hyperactivity in children.

The explanation for such results could be, according to the study, the interference of the remedy in the hormonal systems of the body, which would affect the brain development of the fetus, as was observed in animal tests. However, the authors admit in the study itself the need for further analysis to confirm this assumption.

Without despair

In the opinion of the obstetrician and obstetrician Paola Fasano, of the Hospital and Maternity São Luiz (SP), the dissemination of the research is not cause for despair. “Paracetamol is used on a large scale in pregnancy, even though there are not many substitutes. What we can infer from the study is that any medicine should only be used under the guidance of the obstetrician and that the medical environment should be attentive. Pregnant women do not need to be scared, especially because the study has some limitations, such as not having the time of exposure to the drug, dosage, among others, “he warns.

The doctor also notes that there are risks of not treating pain during pregnancy, which is also reinforced in the research. “Given the widespread use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) among pregnant women, this may have important implications for public health councils. However, the risk of not treating fever or pain during pregnancy should be carefully weighed against any potential harm from acetaminophen to offspring, “the study concludes.

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