Psychiatry Xagena

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Prenatal exposure to Paracetamol and children's language development

A study has examined prenatal Paracetamol ( Acetaminophen [ N-acetyl-p-aminophenol ]; APAP ) exposure in relation to language development in offspring at 30 months of age.

A population-based pregnancy cohort study including 754 women who enrolled in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal, Mother and child, Asthma and allergy ( SELMA ) study in pregnancy week 8–13.
Two exposure measures were used: (1) maternally reported number of Paracetamol tablets taken between conception and enrollment; (2) APAP urinary concentration at enrollment.
Language development at 30 months was assessed by nurse's evaluation and parental questionnaire, including the number of words the child used ( less than 25, 25–50 and more than 50 ).

Main study outcome; parental report of use of fewer than 50 words, termed language delay ( LD ).

59.2% of women enrolled in weeks 8–13 reported taking Paracetamol between conception and enrollment.

Paracetamol was measurable in all urine samples and urinary Paracetamol was correlated with the number of Paracetamol taken during pregnancy ( P less than 0.01 ).

Language delay was more prevalent in boys ( 12.6% ) than girls ( 4.1% ) ( 8.5% in total ). Both the number of Paracetamol tablets and urinary Paracetamol concentration were associated with greater language delay in girls but not in boys.

The adjusted odds ratio ( OR ) for language delay among girls whose mothers reported more than 6 versus 0 Paracetamol tablets was 5.92 ( 95% confidence interval ( CI ) 1.10–31.94 ).
The OR for language delay in girls whose mothers’ urinary Paracetamol was in the highest compared to the lowest quartile was 10.34 ( 95% CI 1.37–77.86 ).

In conclusion, given the prevalence of prenatal Paracetamol use and the importance of language development, these findings, if replicated, would suggest that pregnant women should limit their use of this analgesic during pregnancy. ( Xagena )

Bornehag CG et al, Eur Psychiatry 2017; Epub ahead of print