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Dr. Zeyan Liew, postdoctoral scholar in FSPH's Department of Epidemiology, was quoted by the New York Times about possible long-term effects of pregnant women's heavy acetaminophen use on fetuses brain development.
Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol and many other over-the-counter products, has been the drug recommended for pregnant women with fever or pain or inflammatory conditions certainly as far back as my own pregnancies in the 1980s and ‘90s.
But in recent years there have been concerns raised about possible effects of heavy use of acetaminophen on the brain of the developing fetus. A Danish epidemiological study published in 2014 found an association between prenatal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, especially if the acetaminophen use was more frequent.
Zeyan Liew, a postdoctoral scholar in the department of epidemiology at the U.C.L.A. Fielding School of Public Health, who was the first author on the 2014 article, said it was challenging for researchers to look at effects that show up later in the child’s life. “With a lot of drug safety research in pregnancy, they only look into birth outcomes or congenital malformations,” Dr. Liew said. “It’s very difficult to conduct a longitudinal study and examine outcomes like neurobehavioral disorders.”