Warning: This Common Painkiller Can Endanger Fetal Health!

Expecting women experience, to say the least, a difficult time during pregnancy, with pain in their legs, back, and stomach being part of the symptoms that are common during this period. To treat these symptoms, doctors have recommended a simple, common painkiller that we all know. It’s the world's best-selling drug called Acetaminophen, which is used to treat pain and reduce fever, but in a recent study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it was found that taking it leads to a significant risk for fetuses.


The researchers found that there is a link between regular acetaminophen intake during pregnancy and the development of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and ADHD, and it is important that you familiarize yourself with the findings of the study so that you know how to protect yourself from this danger and at the same time reduce the different fears that have arisen regarding its findings.


Before we begin discussing the study...

it's important to know a little more about acetaminophen. This type of drug is an external analgesic used to relieve pain and reduce fever. There are more than 600 medicines that contain acetaminophen as an active ingredient including both “over the counter drugs” (OTC) and prescription medications. 

Common OTC drugs containing acetaminophen:

  • Actifed®

  • Plus®Alka-Seltzer
  • ®Cepacol
  • Contac®
  • ®Coricidin
  • ®Dayquil
  • ®Dimetapp
  • Dristan®
  • Excedrin®
  • ®Feverall
  • Formula 44®
  • Goody’s® Powders
  • ®Liquiprin
  • Midol®
  • ®Mucinex
  • Nyquil®
  • ®Panadol
  • Robitussin®
  • Saint Joseph® Aspirin-Free
  • Singlet®
  • ®Sinutab
  • ®Sudafed
  • Theraflu®
  • ®Triaminic
  • TYLENOL® Brand Products
  • Vanquish®
  • Vicks®
  • *And generic brands

Common prescription medications containing acetaminophen:

  • ®Butalbital
  • ®Endocet
  • ®Fioricet
  • ®Hycotab
  • ®Hydrocet
  • Bitartrate®Hydrocodone
  • ®Lortab
  • NORCO®
  • ®Oxycodone
  • Percocet®
  • ®Phenaphen
  • ®Sedapap
  • ®Tapanol
  • Tramadol
  • TYLENOL® with Codeine
  • ®Tylox
  • ®Ultracet
  • ®Vicodin
  • ®Zydone
  • *And generic brands

Most of these drugs can be purchased without a prescription, but they are known to have harmful side effects, such as liver damage, and therefore should not be used to treat headaches that result from hangovers, as alcohol itself is harmful to the liver. It has recently been found that pregnant women should also be wary of consuming large amounts of such drugs because regular consumption of acetaminophen can cause autism and similar problems in the developing fetus in their stomach.


The study conducted on taking acetaminophen during pregnancy and its conclusions

Dr. Ilan Matok, head of the laboratory at the Institute for Drug Research at the Hebrew University School of Medicine, along with his students, reviewed studies examining the possible relationship between prolonged exposure of acetaminophen to the fetus and the risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and ADHD. That conclusion of the review was that prolonged drug use during pregnancy increases the risk of developing ADHD by about 30% and autism by about 20%.

Along with these alarming results, it is important to note that prolonged use is considered using acetaminophen for several weeks on a daily basis, so there is no reason to be alarmed if there is a need to use the medication to relieve pain once in a while. In fact, occasional use of acetaminophen is much less dangerous to the fetus than the stress felt by the pregnant mother caused by the pain that afflicts her. However, it is recommended that pregnant women who suffer from pain regularly consider alternative and natural ways to reduce pain and consult with their doctor to find out what is the right and healthiest way to achieve this goal.


What else is known about the dangers of acetaminophen?

Apart from the known side effects of acetaminophen, such as nausea, allergic reaction, rash, redness, sweating and high blood pressure, in some cases the drug may cause the diaphragm to contract, leading to some type of asthma and, in rare cases, - a condition called thrombocytopenia or leukopenia, depending on the complication. In addition, a study conducted at the University of Washington in 2011 found that prolonged use of acetaminophen (4 times or more per week for 4 years or more) doubles the risk of leukemia.
However, despite all the dangers mentioned above, it should be remembered that this is a drug that is considered to be safe in all that is associated with pain relief, but it is important to consume it at the correct dose that does not exceed 3 tablets per day for a maximum of 3 days, unless you have received other instructions from your doctor. It is also important to note that the drug is considered safe for children and infants, as opposed to other painkillers that may cause serious and dangerous effects, such as aspirin, which is recommended for use only at the age of 18 and up.

In conclusion

If you are a pregnant woman suffering from pain on a regular basis, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor to find the most effective solution to the problem, while considering the possibility of natural treatments and relief of pain with appropriate food. As long as you use acetaminophen only once for a while and not regularly, it poses no risk to your fetus. On the other hand, if you are considering regular use of these medications, remember that you are putting yourself and your baby in harm's way.
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