Health Front: ADD Linked to Tylenol Use During Pregnancy
By DR. JERRY DeCAPUA, TRT Contributing Writer
• Pregnant women who take Tylenol (acetaminophen) might be more likely to have a child with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new long term study suggests. Acetaminophen is the most commonly used over-the-drug medication for pregnant women who have headaches or experience fever or pain. Children whose mothers took Tylenol while pregnant had up to a 40 percent risk of being diagnosed with ADHD, according to research involving 64,000 European mothers and children, that was published last week in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Because it is not recommended for expectant mothers to take medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen, they have been taking Tylenol, often advised by their physicians. Many doctors are now shocked at the study findings and cannot, or won’t accept, that it is true. Some refer to the conclusion of the large study as an editorial, rather than a research summary. UCLA Medical School suggests starting another acetaminophen study with even tighter controls. But the results would take years.
The maker of Tylenol, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, said in a statement that, “Tylenol has more than 50 years of clinical use to support its safety and efficacy and, when used as directed, Tylenol has one of the most favorable safety profiles among over-the-counter pain relievers.” The McNeil statement did not mention that the FDA has asked them to take Tylenol Extra Strength off the over-the-counter market because of liver damage to its regular users. Regardless, much drama will certainly unfold at the next stockholders meeting. Shareholder’s livers could be stressed.
The large European study analyzed databases for 8 years. In addition, it noted that the risk for ADHD in a child was elevated by at least 50 percent when the mother used acetaminophen for more than 20 weeks during her pregnancy. In their analysis, the researchers took into account the possibility that the children’s condition had been caused by maternal diseases that prompted the use of acetaminophen. “We adjusted for these, and it did not wipe out the acetaminophen effect at all,” notes Dr. Beate Ritz, head of epidemiology at UCLA.
• When high powered pharmaceutical medications interact with basic foods, the drugs may have unintended consequences and side effects. This drug and food combination may not metabolize in the body well, and the body has trouble handling the interaction. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics mentions these common food and drug interactions:
▪ Grapefruit interacts with several drugs. The drugs that go haywire with grapefruit juice are statins, antihistamines, thyroid medications, blood pressure medications, birth control pills and some pills that block stomach acids.
▪ Natural black licorice may interact with blood thinning medications and blood pressure medications.
▪ Dark green leafy vegetables can interact with blood thinners, affecting the blood’s clotting ability.
▪ Some older forms of antidepressants react badly with a normal protein called Tyramine. Tyramine-rich foods include aged cheese, smoked fish, cured meats, some beers, Chianti, bean curd, liver, sausage, pepperoni, sauerkraut, brewer’s yeast, caffeine, ripe avocados, etc.
The older antidepressants that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s) have caused havoc with the normal process of Tyramine, leading to headaches and a hypertensive crisis. These MAOI’s will react very badly with ginseng, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Celexa and MDMA (ecstasy).
▪ The caffeine in chocolate or coffee can increase the effects of Ritalin, or decrease the effects of sedative-hypnotics such as Ambien.
▪ Vitamin E does not react well with blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin; the combination may cause increased risk of bleeding.
▪ Pomegranate juice is considered the best juice for improving blood circulation. If you take statins for cholesterol, you may have to reduce pomegranate intake, or enjoy the pomegranate juice and reduce the statin drug dosage.