Social media sites are buzzing with news of a possible link between the use of Tylenol during pregnancy and having a baby with autism.
Some people have reported seeing advertisements from lawyers who are looking for women who took Tylenol multiple times during pregnancy and had a child with autism who is under 18 years old.
These claims are based on several studies suggesting that there may be a link between high doses of Tylenol and autism or ADHD.
Importantly, these studies have found no evidence that occasionally taking Tylenol is harmful. Instead, it’s only the higher doses of Tylenol for weeks that have been linked to a possible risk during pregnancy.
Several lawsuits have already been filed against Walmart and other store-brand Tylenol makers for failing to warn about the risk.
The lawsuits are based on multiple recent studies, such as a 2018 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology that found a 20% higher risk of autism when the mother used high doses of acetaminophen. They also observed higher rates of ADHD and hyperactivity symptoms.
Another concerning study was based on about 100,000 pregnant women who participated in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.
The researchers in Norway concluded that long-term exposure to Tylenol (at least 28 days) was associated with a modest increased risk of motor milestone delays and impaired communication, which may be early symptoms of autism.
Even so, all of the studies linking Tylenol are autism are observational, which makes it hard to know if the results are actually due to Tylenol, or other differences between the groups of women who took Tylenol during pregnancy and those who didn’t (such as age, education, etc.).