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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Acetaminophen Study

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss various ideas about what causes the condition

If you listened to Sirius XM last year, you may have heard radio ads about a class action lawsuit alleging that acetaminophen causes it.  A judge nixed it. From the ruling: "the plaintiffs do not have admissible evidence to demonstrate that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen causes either ASD or ADHD in offspring."

And now this: Ahlqvist VH, Sjöqvist H, Dalman C, et al. Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy and Children’s Risk of Autism, ADHD, and Intellectual Disability. JAMA. 2024;331(14):1205–1214. doi:10.1001/jama.2024.3172
Question Does acetaminophen use during pregnancy increase children’s risk of neurodevelopmental disorders?

Findings In this population-based study, models without sibling controls identified marginally increased risks of autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) associated with acetaminophen use during pregnancy. However, analyses of matched full sibling pairs found no evidence of increased risk of autism (hazard ratio, 0.98), ADHD (hazard ratio, 0.98), or intellectual disability (hazard ratio, 1.01) associated with acetaminophen use.

Meaning Acetaminophen use during pregnancy was not associated with children’s risk of autism, ADHD, or intellectual disability in sibling control analyses. This suggests that associations observed in other models may have been attributable to confounding.