Acetaminophen Use in
Pregnancy and ADHD / Autism


Children whose mothers took acetaminophen – the active ingredient in over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol – during pregnancy may be more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a recent study.

Worried that acetaminophen caused your child’s ADHD or ASD?

If your child was exposed to acetaminophen in utero and later diagnosed with ADHD or ASD, we may be able to help.

Lawsuits are currently being filed across the country against major drug retailers and manufacturers like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, claiming they failed to warn that acetaminophen use during pregnancy can lead to ADHD or ASD. There has been a recent increase in the number of these lawsuits. In June 2022, the plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking to have these lawsuits consolidated into one federal court.

Research on acetaminophen + ADHD / ASD

New research linking acetaminophen to neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD and ASD suggests that exposure to the drug in utero may increase the incidence of ADHD and ASD.

A new study suggests that acetaminophen use during pregnancy may increase the risk of ADHD and ASD in children. This isn’t the first time research has shown such a link. In 2018, a meta-analysis of seven studies involving 132,178 mother-infant pairs found that excessive use of acetaminophen during pregnancy increased the risk of ADHD, ASD, and hyperactivity symptoms. In 2016, another study found that prenatal acetaminophen exposure was associated with adverse effects on attention-related outcomes and autism spectrum symptoms.

The timing, amount, and length of acetaminophen use during pregnancy appear to have a correlation with the risk of ADHD / ASD. Using small doses of acetaminophen during pregnancy does not increase the risk of autism, based on studies.

You should consult with your doctor if you have concerns about using acetaminophen while pregnant.

Acetaminophen and Pregnancy

Acetaminophen is one of the most widely used medications in the world and has long been considered safe during pregnancy. In fact, estimates suggest that more than 65% of women use acetaminophen during their pregnancy.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration classifies acetaminophen in pregnancy as “Category B,” meaning no studies have demonstrated it caused birth defects in animals. Although drugs in this category have not been shown to harm an unborn baby, no controlled studies involving pregnant women were performed.

Again, please consult with your doctor if you have concerns about using acetaminophen while pregnant.

We Can Help

Zimmerman Reed is investigating the possible link between acetaminophen use in pregnant women and ADHD / ASD in children. If you are concerned that acetaminophen contributed to your child’s ADHD or ASD diagnosis, please fill out a contact form or reach out to our office today at 800.755.0098.