Posted by: Chris Maloney | March 3, 2014

Does Tylenol Cause ADHD?

If you’ve been following the health news, there is an exciting new study out about the connection between moms taking Tylenol during pregnancy and ADHD later in their children.  Here’s the study and (Here’s the Time recap.)

Now, does that mean that taking Tylenol causes ADHD? Of course not.  It does give us a pretty interesting insight about the increase in ADHD worldwide.  Whether the inflammation of the body leading to the need for Tylenol is involved, or whether the Tylenol itself is a causal factor, we don’t know.

Can we prove or disprove a connection? Not easily.  No pregnant mother is going to want to have her fetus checked periodically for blood toxicity from Tylenol exposure.  In animal studies, different animals have different reactions to Tylenol.  Mice show high toxicity, while rats are resistant.  So which animal is a better model for human patients? We tend to use them interchangeably, and they are very different creatures, selected for easy breeding rather than for similarity.  The best test we could do would be on primates, but I wouldn’t want to be part of it.

Is it plausible that Tylenol toxicity could be a factor?  Absolutely.  The side-effect listing for acetaminophen is as long as your arm.  We really need to reconsider the blasé attitude we have toward pharmaceuticals as a whole.  Here is a study in medicalese of the side effects.  See page sixty for a wide range of body processes altered by Tylenol.

Given the alarming news, what can we expect to change? Absolutely nothing.  Without confirming studies, no one is going to take people off their favorite pain medication.  And very few people know about something like Natrum Mur 30c for back pain during pregnancy, in part because of the unrelenting promotion of Tylenol as a cure-all.  As the study on side effects noted, in the UK alone people down 3.2 billion little white pills a year.

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