2

A 2016 scientific report suggests that taking the painkiller paracetamol (also called acetaminophen in some countries) may cause autism or hyperactivity in children if taken while pregnant. This typical article reports:

Women who take paracetamol in pregnancy are more likely to have autistic or hyperactive children, scientists suspect.

Just one dose could significantly raise the risk of brain-related health problems, they said.

Is this true? Is there any other evidence either way?

  • 1
    I'll certainly grant this one more credibility than the usual vaccines-cause-autism bruhaha; the story of Thalidomide certainly springs to mind... – Shadur Jul 10 '16 at 17:57
  • 2
    @Shadur If it were anything like thalidomide we would surely have noticed its affects in more than 100 years of use. This is a strong piece of evidence against the claim. – matt_black Jul 10 '16 at 18:24
  • I didn't say it had a lot of credibility; just more than vaccines-autism blather. Which is a pretty low bar. And that said, 100 years ago I'm not sure 'autism' existed as a diagnosis, or the notion of thinking about what kind of things can and can't cross the placenta barrier and possibly affect fetal development... – Shadur Jul 10 '16 at 18:38
  • 1
    @Dawn "more likely to have" is, at least in newspapers, a causal statement. I don't know whether the science claims this, but the headlines clearly do. "one dose could significantly raise the risk" is clearly a causal claim. And that is certainly how newspaper readers will interpret it. Whether this is reasonable based on the science is a good topic for analysis here. – matt_black Jul 10 '16 at 19:27
  • "recent studies have linked it to everything from asthma to infertility... ADHD..." - if the studies referred to are just correlations not causal, it could be that women who don't take paracetomol are less likely to seek medical help and get a diagnosis? Taking no paracetomol for 9 months has to be pretty rare. Might be enough people with a general mistrust of medicene in that group to create correlations – user56reinstatemonica8 Jul 10 '16 at 23:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .