Paracetamol use during pregnancy and attention and executive function in offspring at age 5 years.
Int J Epidemiol. 2016 Dec 1 ;45(6):2009-2017. PMID: 28031314
Methods: We studied 1491 mothers and children enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC; 1996-2002). Prenatal paracetamol use was prospectively recorded in three telephone interviews. Trained psychologists assessed child's attention function using the Test of Everyday Attention for Children at Five (TEACh-5). Parents and preschool teachers completed Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) to assess executive functions. We estimated the differences of composite mean outcome scores, and odds ratios (OR) for subnormal attention or executive function (defined as 1 standard deviation below the mean), adjusting for maternal IQ, maternal mental health, indications for paracetamol use and other potential confounders.
Results: First trimester use of paracetamol was associated with poorer attention scores in childhood [mean difference -0.34, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.63, -0.05 for overall attention, and -0.25, 95% CI -0.50, 0.01 for selective attention]. Children prenatally exposed to paracetamol were also at a higher risk for subnormal overall attention (OR = 1.5, 95% CI 1.0, 2.5), selective attention difficulties (OR = 1.5, 95% CI 1.0, 2.4), and parent-rated subnormal executive function (metacognition index, OR = 1.5, 95% CI 0.9, 2.3). The risks for subnormal overall attention or executive function were elevated with longer duration of paracetamol use in pregnancy.
Conclusions: We found some evidence that maternal paracetamol use during pregnancy was associated with poorer attention and executive function in 5-year-olds.