What is the Problem?
A growing number of studies have shown that prolonged use of acetaminophen during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ADHD).
Does Acetaminophen Cross the Placenta?
Yes. When a pregnant woman takes acetaminophen, the drug goes into her bloodstream and influences the baby. Acetaminophen easily crosses the placenta and the blood-brain barrier during pregnancy. Once inside the baby’s body, it is metabolized in the liver, where a where a toxic byproduct is produced, called NAPQI.
Acetaminophen ADHD/Autism Lawsuits Centralized in New York
In October 2022, a panel of federal judges created a new Multi-District Litigation (MDL) to centralize dozens of Acetaminophen Autism / ADHD Lawsuits nationwide into a single courtroom in Manhattan.
At least 66 lawsuits were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the litigation will be overseen by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote.
What Do Lawsuits Claim?
All of the lawsuits involve women who claim that they used over-the-counter generic acetaminophen products while pregnant, which caused their child to develop Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or both disorders.
The defendants include major retailers who sold store-brand acetaminophen, including:
- Family Dollar
- Dollar Tree
- And more
Minnesota Mother Claims Acetaminophen Caused Son’s ADHD
In September 2022, a lawsuit was filed against Target, Walgreens, and Walmart by a mother who claims that her son developed ADHD and other disorders after she used acetaminophen “almost every day to address minor aches and pains,” believing that it was safe.
Her son, identified as “P.C.,” was born in May 2015. After starting school, began exhibiting multiple behavioral issues — tantrums, difficulty sitting still, problems with aggression, keeping quiet, or maintaining focus. He was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2021.
The lawsuit claims that Target, Walmart, and Walgreens continue to advertise acetaminophen as “the safe pain reliever for pregnant women,” despite several studies linking it to a risk of ADHD or autism.
Furthermore, the labels still fail to warn pregnant women about studies suggesting that acetaminophen “alters fetal development, which significantly increases the risks of neuro-developmental disorders.”
The lawsuit was filed on September 30, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota — Case Number 0:22-cv-02422-WMW-JFD.
Studies Linking Acetaminophen and Autism / ADHD
Since 2013, six European birth cohort studies involving more than 70,000 mother-child pairs found an increased risk of ADHD or autism in babies who were exposed to acetaminophen for at least 2 weeks.
In 2020, another study that was published in JAMA Psychiatry found that babies who had high levels of acetaminophen in their umbilical cord blood when they were born were more likely to develop autism.