'Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in Tylenol, is one of the most commonly used over-the-counter painkillers today. Many people take it without giving it a second thought, popping one every time they feel a headache coming on and giving it to their kids at the slightest sign of fever. Don’t let the fact that you don’t need a prescription for it fool you in to a false sense of comfort, however. This drug can be very damaging – and children are at particular risk.
There have been several studies looking at the long-term effects that acetaminophen use during pregnancy and childhood have on children, and all of them link it to long-term neurological function problems. Although the studies are too different to facilitate a meta analysis, experts say it’s clear that acetaminophen is neurotoxic to developing brains.
It’s unfortunate that so many doctors suggest people take these medications. Duke University Associate Professor Dr. William Parker says that many of them simply fail to realize there are studies out there showing the dangers and are simply going by the fact that the drug has been classified as being generally safe – a decision that should be reconsidered in light of recent evidence.
The drug has also been linked to autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Interestingly, the male brain appears to be more sensitive to acetaminophen than the female brain, which could help explain why more boys than girls have these disorders.
A study that was published in the Journal of International Medicine illustrated how acetaminophen damages children’s brains. The scientists wrote that acetaminophen use in young children and babies is more strongly associated with autism than the use of the drug during pregnancy, and they believe it’s because of children’s deficiencies in breaking down pharmaceuticals in early development. They called for an urgent look into the long-term effects of the use of this drug, saying that many infantile autism cases could have been caused by exposure to the medication shortly after birth. This is significant because many parents are instructed to give their children Tylenol prior to getting vaccines, and the combination could be particularly risky.'
Read more: Kills more than just pain: Study proves Tylenol has damaging effects on children’s brains
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