In the 1980s, autism became more widely recognized and was diagnosed more frequently. The growing number of cases led researchers to call the increase an autism epidemic.
Around the time of this “epidemic,” over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol began to replace aspirin to treat pain and fever. This timing led researchers to look at the potential link between autism and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Several studies conducted in the last 20 years have shown a statistical association between pregnant women using acetaminophen and their giving birth to an autistic child.
Parents started to file lawsuits in state court against the stores that had sold them acetaminophen. They argued there should have been a warning that taking it while pregnant could cause autism in their child. Each Tylenol causes autism lawsuit around the country was combined into one class action suit, known as the Tylenol autism case.
Tylenol Became the Pain Relief of Choice for Millions
Since the 1980s, Tylenol has been an extremely popular over-the-counter remedy for millions of Americans. It is often the first go-to medicine for pain, fever, headaches and muscle aches.
Many pain relievers on the market are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Unfortunately, these types of medications can cause significant side effects like stomach upset, ulcers, kidney damage and high blood pressure. Tylenol is not an NSAID, so patients and physicians considered it to be a safe option.
Because of its safety profile, pregnant women have been told for years that Tylenol is safe to take during all three trimesters of pregnancy. They were also told it was a much better option than other NSAIDs on the market like aspirin and Advil. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a 2021 study found approximately 65% of pregnant women in the United States use Tylenol.
What is the Evidence of a Link Between Acetaminophen and Autism?
Researchers have investigated if there might be a link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and a child developing autism. Several studies have found evidence of a possible association between them.
One study focused on whether acetaminophen used after the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination could be linked with autism. The researchers surveyed parents and found that children who got the MMR vaccine and also took acetaminophen within the prior year were more likely to have autism when compared to children who received the MMR vaccine but did not take acetaminophen. The study ruled out a link between Ibuprofen use and autistic children.
Another study in 2018 reported a possible association between prenatal exposure to acetaminophen and the risk of autism. The study found that children who were exposed to acetaminophen during pregnancy were at an increased risk of developing autism as compared to children who weren’t exposed.
More research was done in 2019 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health. Scientists looked at umbilical cord blood to test the levels of acetaminophen a baby was exposed to during pregnancy. The results showed that children exposed to a high level of Tylenol during pregnancy were approximately three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to children with the least amount of exposure.
Based on these studies and others, in September 2021, an international group of 91 scientists, physicians and public health professionals published a consensus statement. Summarizing around 29 studies from around the world, the statement warned women against using acetaminophen during pregnancy. Specifically, the studies found that when more Tylenol or acetaminophen was used during pregnancy, it could possibly result in higher rates of children with autism.
In addition, the studies recommended that warning labels appearing on all medications that contain acetaminophen spell out the risk of using them during pregnancy. Potentially affected families used the findings of all of these studies to file Tylenol causes autism lawsuits.
When Did the Lawsuits against Tylenol Begin?
Over the past few years, parents have started to file lawsuits in state court. The suits alleged stores sold acetaminophen to parents without warning them it could lead to the birth of an autistic child.
By 2020, parents in all 50 states had filed a Tylenol causes Autism lawsuit. In October 2022, 18 cases were combined into the class action Tylenol autism lawsuit. The number of people who are suing is expected to continue to grow.
Who Can I Contact to See if I’m Eligible to Join the Lawsuit?
If you have a child diagnosed with autism and took medication containing acetaminophen while pregnant, you may be eligible to join the Tylenol Autism lawsuit. Feel free to contact Action Matters for more information.
If you decide to hire an attorney, they will need evidence to prove your case. Therefore, they will ask for all relevant documents like medical records, receipts showing the purchase of Tylenol, any personal notes, and statements and testimony of family and friends.