Study Links Tylenol during Pregnancy to Problems for Children

A recent study has drawn a correlation between use of Tylenol during pregnancy and developmental problems in children.

The study, published by researchers from the University of Oslo in the International Journal of Epidemiology in October, evaluated long-term side effects of the main ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen. In the study, the popular painkiller is referred to as paracetamol.

The Norwegian researchers studied data on 48,631 children born to Norwegian mothers between 1999 and 2008. They determined that, when evaluated at the age of 3, children who had been exposed for more than 28 days to acetaminophen in the womb showed signs ofpoor gross motor development, communication problems and behavioral issues not noted in children not exposed to the drug. Even the children in the study who had been exposed to acetaminophen for fewer than 28 days showed delays in gross motor development.

The findings of this study will increase pressure on Johnson & Johnson, the company that makes Tylenol. The pharmaceutical giant is currently facing multiple personal injury lawsuits brought by plaintiffs that claim they withheld information about Tylenol side effects such as liver failure or injury to the liver. In light of growing concerns about Tylenol side effects, the federal government has launched a campaign to help raise awareness about the risk of acetaminophen overdoses, but many critics claim this action is taken far too late.

If you or your loved one suffered liver damage after a Tylenol overdose, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for your physical, emotional and financial damages. To learn more about Tylenol injury lawsuits, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. for a free legal consultation.

Tylenol, Pregnancy & Autism/ADHD Lawsuits

While pregnancy is usually a joyful time, it’s not without its difficulties, including frequent bouts of pain and discomfort. Many mothers over the years have turned to over-the-counter pain medications for relief, but with recent studies showing a correlation between the use of Tylenol during pregnancy and developmental problems in children, including autism/ADHD and tylenol and birth defects lawsuits have been filed across the country.

What do families need to know about the connection between Tylenol use during pregnancy and serious health problems for children — and whether they qualify to file a lawsuit?

What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol is the brand name of the pain reliever and fever reducer acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is also known as paracetamol in much of Europe, Australia, and India. The compound was first prepared in 1878, but it wasn’t marketed as a pain reliever until the 1950s.

And while studies have shown its efficacy at relieving pain and reducing fever, to this day, it’s still not know exactly how acetaminophen does what it does. That said, studies have also shown that overuse can cause liver damage.

Tylenol & Autism/ADHD: What Do the Studies Say?

For at least a decade, researchers have been studying a possible link between acetaminophen/Tylenol and increased rates of autism in children since the 1980s. Studies have reported that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen raises a child’s risk of developing autism by nearly 20% and ADHD by as much as 34%.

Both autism and ADHD have become much more well-understood over the past couple of decades, and diagnosis rates for both have surged. In the U.S., the number of children diagnosed with autism has more than doubled since 2010, according to data from the CDC, while ADHD rates have climbed by about 36% since 2003.

Tylenol & Autism/ADHD Lawsuits

While more research is being conducted into the exact mechanisms that cause this increased level of risk from Tylenol use during pregnancy, dozens of families have filed lawsuits against the companies that use acetaminophen in their pain-relieving and fever-reducing products.

Since about 2021, the rate of lawsuits being filed over acetaminophen use during pregnancy and later health problems in children has been steadily increasing, and in October 2022, a multijurisdictional lawsuit (MDL) consolidated a number of cases into a single class action in the Southern District of New York. More families are filing lawsuits every week, and the number of cases continues to grow.

So far, most lawsuits that have been filed target Johnson & Johnson, which makes the most successful brand-name version of acetaminophen, Tylenol, and Walmart, the world’s biggest retail store. But other manufacturers that could face lawsuits include GSK, which makes Excedrin, and Vicks, which makes DayQuil and NyQuil, as well as retailers that sell these medications.

Tylenol & Birth Defects

Aside from the increased risk of autism and ADHD that studies have revealed, research has also shown that acetaminophen/Tylenol use during pregnancy can result in birth defects among children, particularly males, including:

  • Undescended testicles
  • Testicular germ cell cancer
  • Urethra on underside of penis

Acetaminophen in Medications

While Tylenol is the best-known drug that uses acetaminophen as its main active ingredient, the chemical is used in many other drugs, whether they’re available over the counter or by prescription only, including:

Over the counter

  • Alka-Seltzer Plus
  • Coricidin
  • DayQuil/NyQuil
  • Excedrin
  • Formula 44
  • Robitussin
  • Saint Joseph Aspirin-Free
  • Sudafed
  • Theraflu
  • Vicks


  • Hydrocodone Bitartrate
  • Lortab
  • Norco
  • Oxycodone
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin

Additionally, many generic and store-brand pain relievers use acetaminophen as their primary ingredient.

Acetaminophen’s Other Risks

Because acetaminophen is not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) like ibuprofen, which is the active ingredient in Advil and Motrin, many people who are sensitive to NSAIDs rely on drugs like Tylenol for pain relief. Even in those who aren’t especially sensitive, NSAIDs can irritate the stomach and intestinal lining, but Tylenol hasn’t been shown to do that.

The connection between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and serious health problems for children has only recently become solidified, but Tylenol and other acetaminophen-based drugs have long been associated with other serious health risks.

For example, taking too much Tylenol or acetaminophen has been shown to damage the liver, and chronically taking too much can even lead to liver failure. In fact, it’s estimated that about half of all acute liver failure cases in the U.S. can be attributed to acetaminophen poisoning.

Consultation With Tylenol Attorney

If you or your spouse took Tylenol or acetaminophen during pregnancy and your child later was diagnosed with autism, ADHD, or another birth defect, you could be entitled to substantial compensation. To learn more about Tylenol pregnancy lawsuits, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. for a free legal consultation.


American Chemical Society, Molecule of the Week Archive, Acetaminophen, 2014. Retrieved from,are%20as%20a%20generic%20drug

American Journal of Epidemiology, Prenatal Exposure to Acetaminophen and Risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Meta-Regression Analysis of Cohort Studies, 2018. Retrieved from

European Journal of Epidemiology, Prenatal and postnatal exposure to acetaminophen in relation to autism spectrum and attention-deficit and hyperactivity symptoms in childhood: Meta-analysis in six European population-based cohorts, 2021. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2022. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Data and Statistics About ADHD, 2022. Retrieved from

Yale Daily News, Yale researchers warn against use of Tylenol by pregnant women, 2021. Retrieved from

Hepatology, Acetaminophen and the U.S. acute liver failure study group: Lowering the risks of hepatic failure, 2004. Retrieved from

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