Short-term use of paracetamol by pregnant women reduces the risk of ADHD
A recent study shows that short-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy can reduce the likelihood that the child develops ADHD.
Researchers have previously found that if pregnant women use a lot of paracetamol (over 28 days), the incidence of ADHD increases among the children born. Now it turns out that short-term use can have the opposite effect, reports the Titan blog of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo.
The study showed that short-term use of paracetamol, for seven days or less during pregnancy, was associated with a decrease of approximately 10 percent of ADHD. This in line with results from previous surveys.
– We have reason to suspect that prolonged use of paracetamol during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of ADHD in the child. However, the study that is now published shows that short-term use of paracetamol during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of ADHD in children. It is therefore an important finding, says associate professor at the Department of Psychology and researcher at the Institute of Public Health, Eivind Ystrøm.
Paracetamol is found in the brands Paracet and Pinex among others, and has an analgesic and antipyretic effect. By 2016, the prescription-free sales of paracetamol in Norway was almost twenty doses per person. About half of Norwegian pregnant women use the medicine during pregnancy.
Statistical contexts do not necessarily reveal real relationships. The researchers therefore lack the last piece in the jig-saw puzzle to prove that paracetamol can be the cause of ADHD.
ADHD Signs and symptoms (Wikipedia)
Inattention, hyperactivity (restlessness in adults), disruptive behavior, and impulsivity are common in ADHD. Academic difficulties are frequent as are problems with relationships. The symptoms can be difficult to define as it is hard to draw a line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and significant levels requiring interventions begin.
According to the DSM-5, symptoms must be present for six months or more to a degree that is much greater than others of the same age and they must cause significant problems functioning in at least two settings (e.g., social, school/work, or home). The full criteria must have been met prior to age 12 in order to receive a diagnosis of ADHD.
ADHD is divided into three subtypes: predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-PH or ADHD-HI), and combined type (ADHD-C).
A child with ADHD inattentive type has most or all of following symptoms, excluding situations where these symptoms are better explained by another psychiatric or medical condition:
- Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
- Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
- Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
- Seem to not be listening when spoken to
- Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
- Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
- Struggle to follow instructions
- Have trouble understanding minute details
A child with ADHD hyperactive-impulsive type has most or all of the following symptoms, excluding situations where these symptoms are better explained by another psychiatric or medical condition:
- Fidget and squirm in their seats
- Talk nonstop
- Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
- Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, doing homework, and story time
- Be constantly in motion
- Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities
- Be very impatient
- Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
- Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
- Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities
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