Did Tylenol Cause Your Child’s Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and widely-debated subject, attracting significant attention over the past decade. One recent aspect of this discussion revolves around the potential link between the use of Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy and the development of autism in children. The corresponding studies have generated great discussion and public interest, with everyone from medical professionals, researchers, and concerned parents weighing in.

In today’s blog, we want to discuss the available evidence surrounding this connection, what people are saying, and what you can do if you believe your child was harmed by Tylenol during pregnancy.

Understanding autism spectrum disorder

First, it is important to understand the nature of autism spectrum disorder. ASD is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties in social interaction, communication challenges, and repetitive behaviors. Its exact causes are still not fully understood, although it is widely accepted that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development.

Per the CDC:

ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months of age or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones until around 18 to 24 months of age, and then they stop gaining new skills or lose the skills they once had.

As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, they may have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected in school or on the job. They may come to the attention of healthcare providers because they also have conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which occur more often in people with ASD than in people without ASD.

Is there a link between Tylenol and autism?

The association between Tylenol use and autism emerged from a series of epidemiological studies showing an increased risk of ASD in children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy. Just a few of these studies include:

Per Healthline, “The most common reason for taking the acetaminophen, which is sold under the brand name Tylenol, during pregnancy was headache or migraine, followed by allergies or a cold.”

Hugh S. Taylor, chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, tells Salon.com that pregnant women should exercise caution before taking Tylenol or other acetaminophen products: “The period of fetal development is a very vulnerable stage. Things are moving, changing quickly. The changes that occur during that time period are then programmed for the rest of our lives. Things that don’t affect adults may affect these crucial developmental windows.”

However, Salon also notes the following:

By contrast, other studies have argued that the links between acetaminophen and neurodevelopment disorders are overstated. A 2018 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology argued that although “acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk for ADHD, ASD, and hyperactivity symptoms,” those results “should be interpreted with caution given that the available evidence consists of observational studies and is susceptible to several potential sources of bias.”

Ashley Garling, clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy, told Salon, “As long as your overall daily dose is under 3,000 milligrams, [in a 24-hour cycle], it’s usually fairly safe.”

What all of this tells us is that there is nothing simple about this issue.

We understand you are looking for answers

If your child is diagnosed with ASD or ADHD, you likely have a lot of questions about the future. We believe Johnson & Johnson should have known about the dangers of Tylenol for pregnant women – the studies are right there for everyone to see. However, instead, they marketed their product as safe for women to take throughout their pregnancies. It is important to hold the right people responsible when children experience permanent injuries, and the defective drug attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC can help you do just that.

Am I eligible to file a Tylenol autism lawsuit?

If your child was diagnosed with ASD or ADHD after exposure to acetaminophen in the womb, you may be eligible to file a Tylenol autism lawsuit. Parents or legal guardians may file on behalf of children under the age of eighteen. To make the most of your first meeting with an attorney, collect all medical records documenting your child’s diagnosis. You should also gather evidence that you consumed Tylenol or another form of acetaminophen during pregnancy. For example, include medical records indicating the use of Tylenol for pain.

At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we handle dangerous drug cases nationwide and here at home in Memphis and in Little Rock, AR. If you believe your child was harmed by Tylenol in the womb, we want to help. Call us today or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation to find out if you are eligible to file a lawsuit.