By Festus Omobude
Scientists had carried out research on behavioural patterns of children whose mothers had been exposed to this medication even during pregnancy, testing their memory and IQ. It has been discovered that paracetamol intake by women who are pregnant poses a threat to the developing embryo.
14,000 children between the ages of 6months and 11 years have been examined by a group of scientist at the University of Bristol.
The effect of this drug were strongest in children who were 3-years of age but the effect begins to subside in adults. The perinatal Epidemiology Journal reported that the behavioural problems appeared to be more severe in boys than girls.
Lead study author Professor Jean Golding said: ‘Our findings add to a series of results concerning evidence of the possible adverse effects of taking paracetamol during pregnancy such as issues with asthma or behaviour in the offspring. It reinforces the advice that women should be cautious when taking medication during pregnancy and to seek medical advice where necessary.’ Responding to the findings, Dr James Dear of the University of Edinburgh said: ‘At present, in my opinion, women should only use paracetamol in pregnancy if clearly needed. The lowest dose for the shortest time should be taken.’
More studies are needed to know the cause of the problems seen in children suggesting that there is a different cause other than the use of paracetamol itself.
Andrew Whitelaw, emeritus professor of neonatal medicine at Bristol, said: ‘There is a possibility that, in some women, it is the reason for paracetamol, rather than the medication itself, which has affected the infant’s brain.’
Dr Pat O’Brien, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: ‘These results demonstrate only an association between paracetamol use and adverse outcomes.