Is intrauterine exposure to acetaminophen associated with emotional and hyperactivity problems during childhood? Findings from the 2004 Pelotas birth cohort

Luciana Tovo-Rodrigues, Bruna Celestino Schneider, Thais Martins-Silva, Bianca Del-Ponte, Christian Loret De Mola, Lavinia Schuler-Faccini, Fernanda Sales Luiz Vianna, Tiago N. Munhoz, Ludmila Entiauspe, Mariângela Freitas Silveira, Iná S. Santos, Alicia Matijasevich, Aluísio J.D. Barros, Luis Augusto Rohde, Andréa Dâmaso Bertoldi

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Longitudinal studies have consistently reported that prenatal exposure to acetaminophen can to lead to an increased risk of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder during childhood. This study aimed to investigate the association between intrauterine exposure to acetaminophen and the presence of emotional and behavioral problems at the ages of 6 and 11 years in a low-middle income country. Methods: We performed a prospective longitudinal population-based study using data from the 2004 Pelotas birth cohort. From the 4231 initial cohort participants, 3722 and 3566 children were assessed at 6 and 11 years of age, respectively. The outcomes were assessed using the parent version of Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The cut-off points established for the Brazilian population were used to categorize the outcomes. Crude and adjusted odds ratio were obtained through logistic regression. Results: Acetaminophen was used by 27.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 26.1-28.9) of the mothers at least once during pregnancy. The prevalence of emotional problems at 6 and 11 years was 13.6 and 19.9%, respectively. For hyperactivity problems, prevalence was 13.9 and 16.1%, respectively. Intrauterine exposure to acetaminophen increased the odds of having emotional (odds ratio [OR] = 1.47; 95% CI: 1.07-2.02) and hyperactivity/inattention (OR = 1.42; 95% CI: 1.06-1.92) problems in 6-year-old boys. At the age of 11, a small decrease in the effect was observed for both outcomes after adjustment: OR = 1.31 (95% CI: 0.99-1.73) for emotional problems and OR = 1.25 (95% CI: 0.95-1.65) for hyperactivity/inattention in boys. No association for any phenotypes at both ages was observed for girls. Conclusion: The effect of intrauterine exposure to acetaminophen in emotional and hyperactivity symptoms was dependent on sex in a Brazilian cohort. While it seemed to be important for boys, mainly at 6 years of age, for girls, no association was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number368
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol)
  • Behavioral symptoms
  • Birth cohort
  • Prenatal exposure

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