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NZSMI reminds pregnant women to check medication with doctor

Latest news from NZSMI re paracetamol in pregnancy.

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NZSMI reminds pregnant women to check medication with doctor

February 27, 2014: The New Zealand Self-Medication Industry (SMI) today reminded consumers that over-the-counter analgesics, like all other medicines, should only be used during pregnancy on the advice of a doctor.

These comments were made in response to an observational study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association-Pediatrics that suggested an association between the use of paracetamol in pregnancy and the development of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. 1

An editorial published in the same edition of the journal warned that caution was needed when interpreting this study because it did not demonstrate that paracetamol caused ADHD. It said that the results should not change current practices of prescribing paracetamol during pregnancy. The authors of the study also said that caution in interpreting results was needed and the study needed to be repeated. 2

SMI executive director, Tim Roper says: “Paracetamol has been used in New Zealand for the relief of minor aches, pains and fever for 50 years. While we welcome new research and the insights it brings, there are limitations in the study design, which were recognised by the authors, and these include potential confounding related to the condition for which the paracetamol was used.

“This study highlights the importance of not taking a medicine’s safety for granted during pregnancy and reinforces the need for women to seek the advice of their doctor before they take any medication during pregnancy,” said Mr Roper.



1. Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy, Behavioral Problems, and Hyperkinetic Disorders ONLINE FIRST Zeyan Liew, Beate Ritz, et al, JAMA Pediatr. Published online February 24, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4914

2. Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy, Behavioral Problems, and Hyperkinetic Disorders

Cooper M Langley K et al, JAMA Pediatr. 2014; doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4914. Feb 24 2014.

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