The Truth About the Acetaminophen / Autism / ADD/ADHD Connection
“There are 28 billion doses of acetaminophen per year sold in the US; liver damage caused by acetaminophen leads to 400 deaths and 42,000 hospitalizations a year. Since acetaminophen is often part of a combination medication, the potential for people to accidentally overdose on it is ever present. Overdoses of acetaminophen now represent the leading cause of liver damage in the US.” From the July 12, 2009 issue of the New York Buyers Club
“Not only is acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, the deadliest over-the-counter pain reliever on the U.S. market, but its dangers are being overlooked by members of the public and health officials, according to a new joint report by ProPublica and the public radio program, This American Life. Acetaminophen overdose sends as many as 78,000 Americans to the emergency room annually…. federal data shows.” From Dominique Mosbergen’s article for the Huffpo, Tylenol Overdose Risk Is Staggering; Acetaminophen Safeguards Remain Insufficient: Report
“Acetaminophen is a component of hundreds of over-the-counter and prescription medications used worldwide. Its wide availability and easy accessibility make accidental or intentional overdose, leading to hepatotoxicity, a common occurrence. It is available in both prescription and OTC formulations and is commonly found in three strengths: regular strength, extra strength, and extended release.
Several forms of acetaminophen are available, including tablets, caplets, capsules, oral-disintegrating tablets, chewable tablets, oral syrup, liquid, solution and suspension, as well as rectal suppositories. In 2011, the FDA approved an acetaminophen I.V. formulation to be used in an inpatient setting to treat fever and pain in children 2 years of age and older, and adults.” From the September 2019 issue of Nursing Critical Care by Dr. Scott Saccomano (Acute Acetaminophen Toxicity in Adults)
“Tylenol Is By Far The Most Dangerous Drug Ever Made” Dr. Aric Hausknecht, New York neurologist and pain management specialist, as quoted in Josh Bloom’s September 2017 article for the American Council on Science and Health (Is Tylenol ‘By Far the Most Dangerous Drug Ever Made?)
Acetaminophen (aka Paracetamol, Tylenol) is arguably the world’s number one over-the-counter pain reliever / ANTIPYRETIC medication. Although the STATISTICS CONCERNING CONSUMPTION (AND TOXICITY) OF ACETAMINOPHEN are all over the place, sources show that Americans take about 30 billion doses annually in the US, which works out to about 100 doses for every man, woman and child. A heck of a lot of medication of any kind no matter how you slice it!
Furthermore, remember that acetaminophen toxicity (kidneys, liver, etc) is not only dose-dependent, research has shown that said damage is “accumulative”. Calculating one’s accumulated toxic load for acetaminophen would be similar to calculating damage done by smoking, which is figured in something called ‘pack-years’ (number of packs/year X the number of years smoked = pack-years). Which brings us to the acetaminophen / autism / ADD/ADHD connection.
I’ve talked quite a bit on my site about acetaminophen, even discussing this ACETAMINOPHEN / AUTISM / ADD/ADHD CONNECTION several years ago in a rather extensive article. Just the other day the European Journal of Epidemiology published a meta-analysis (23 authors and 46 sources) titled Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure to Acetaminophen in Relation to Autism Spectrum and Attention-deficit and Hyperactivity Symptoms in Childhood: Meta-analysis in Six European Population-based Cohorts, confirming the previous findings.
Thus, the very first thing you need to understand about this topic is that while it is not very widely reported by doctors or media outlets who get most of their revenue from advertisers (BIG PHARMA is probably their biggest customer), it is not in any ways new or ground-breaking. Here are the authors talking about the old meta-analyses.
Two meta-analyses have investigated the link between prenatal acetaminophen use and Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and ADHD symptoms. The first meta-analysis included seven cohort studies [132,738 mother/child pairs looked at] and reported risk increases of 19% for ASC and 34% for ADHD. The second meta-analysis focused on ADHD, included eight cohort studies [244,940 mother/child pairs looked at] and concluded that exposed children had a 25% increased risk of developing ADHD symptoms.
I don’t care who you are, these old stats concerning the acetaminophen / autism / ADD/ADHD connection are nothing short of staggering. An almost 20% increase in AUTISM and as much as a third greater chance of developing ADD/ADHD — just from mom taking TYLENOL or something similar (something containing acetaminophen / paracetamol) while pregnant. Kind of makes you look at Tylenol’s old slogan, “Tylenol; Nothing Safer” in a new light, doesn’t it? But what about the findings in the current study?
The authors looked at almost 74,000 European mother/child pairs born between 1991 and 2008, trying to determine how accurate the previous research was (this study was considered “robust” by peer-review), and whether boys or girls were affected to a greater degree (hint; although boys were affected more, girls were not far behind). Their findings showed that while there was very little link to postnatal exposure to the drug, prenatal exposure — the exposure occurring to baby while mom is pregnant — showed a similar relationship. How similar? Let’s look at conclusions.
The most consistent pattern of results was observed for the association between prenatal acetaminophen exposure and ADHD symptoms. The positive associations were observed in all the cohorts and of similar magnitude regardless of the cohort excluded in the leave-one-out analysis. This finding is in agreement with previous meta-analysis which reported likelihood increases of 25% and 34% for ADHD in relation to prenatal acetaminophen exposure.
So, even when supposed ‘outlier studies’ were not included, the conclusions were the same. Scary stuff by any measure. Oh; I almost forgot to mention their findings on Autism. “The association between prenatal acetaminophen use and Autism Spectrum Complex (ASC) symptoms was consistently positive even after omitting the largest cohort. Overall our findings provide support for the association between prenatal acetaminophen and ASC symptoms in line with a previous meta-analysis.” So, even if the authors did not count the study with the biggest acetaminophen / autism / ADD/ADHD connection, there was still an almost 20% association.
Looking at these conclusions concerning the acetaminophen / autism / ADD/ADHD connection, let’s apply some good old fashioned logic to the equation and be honest regarding our speculation.
If acetaminophen, a drug that has been touted for decades as safe to the point of being practically metabolically inert, can cause these sorts of neurological problems when developing fetuses are exposed, imagine what really toxic substances that infants and children are regularly / routinely exposed to, both in the womb and out (MERCURY and ALUMINUM; two of the most neurotoxic elements on the planet), might be doing to their developing brains — even though it is considered professional suicide to even bring it up for discussion?
Are there safer drugs for women to take while PREGNANT? Maybe, but you sure don’t want to take NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, which have been associated with birth defects in a dose-dependent fashion (HERE). As always, the best bet is to LIVE LIFE AS UNINFLAMED AS POSSIBLE. If you appreciate the valuable health-related information found on my site, be sure to spread the wealth with those you love and value most by liking, sharing or following on FACEBOOK.
What is the percentage risk of a child developing ASC or ADHD?? This is important because if it’s a 10% risk (that’s 10 in every 100), then a 25% increase in risk would be 12.5 in every 100.
But if the risk is 1%, a 25% increase in risk would be 1.25 in every hundred.
Stating a 25% increase in risk without stating the percentage risk as a baseline is misleading.