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Acetaminophen, or Tylenol as it is more commonly known, is one of the most widely used over-the-counter pain medications. Doubling as both a fever reducer and a pain killer, acetaminophen is used as a home remedy for nearly every minor ailment we encounter, from headaches to joint pain. Most people do not think too hard before taking the occasional Tylenol, but recent research linking acetaminophen to Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may cause pregnant women and mothers of young children to think twice about whether they should use this common painkiller. If actual injury can be established, you might be able to sue the company under product liability.
Historically, acetaminophen has been thought to be a perfectly safe way for women to treat fevers and pain throughout pregnancy. It was thought to be so safe that up to 70% of women frequently took acetaminophen during their pregnancies. Starting in 2014, studies began to reveal that there is a notable link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and an increased risk for ASD and ADHD.
Two of the most significant of these studies provide data to help determine the exact relationship between acetaminophen use and ASD and ADHD. The first of these studies was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins and published in 2019 in JAMA Psychiatry. By studying acetaminophen levels in newborn umbilical cord blood, researchers discovered that children with the highest levels of the drug in their cord blood were 3.62 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD and 2.86 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD later in life.
Similarly, a 2021 edition of the European Journal of Epidemiology found children exposed to acetaminophen before birth were 19% more likely to develop ASD and 21% more likely to display traits associated with ADHD.
In 2008, the first article linking ASD to acetaminophen use was published in the Journal of Autism. Around that time, the U.S. was seeing a nationwide spike in ASD diagnoses. In this study, the lead researcher hypothesized that the nationwide spike was in fact related to the CDC’s similarly timed recommendation for parents to replace aspirin with acetaminophen for infants and young children.
From the survey of 83 parents of children with ASD, and 80 without ASD, the study concluded that children given acetaminophen to treat their reactions to the MMR vaccine were more likely to later be diagnosed with ASD than their counterparts who were given ibuprofen.
In 2017, the original 2008 study was corroborated by a study published in the Journal of International Medical Research which found the usage of acetaminophen by young children and infants was more strongly correlated with ASD than by a mother’s usage of the acetaminophen during pregnancy.
Since the research has come to light, there has been an influx of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson and other acetaminophen producers. These lawsuits allege that brands like Tylenol failed to warn consumers of the risks, and consequently, caused children to develop ASD. If you believe that acetaminophen is linked to your child’s ASD diagnosis, we urge you to also consider filing a case. While we recognize that no amount of money can fully compensate for the struggles your family experienced, our team at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law will do everything in our power to hold brands like Johnson & Johnson accountable for their negligent actions.
To ease some of the burden of a lawsuit, our personal injury attorneys only charge fees for our services if we win your case. If you are interested in filing a case about the Tylenol-Autism connection, contact Jan Dils today and talk to us about your story.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law