Powerful drugs like acetaminophen can disrupt the neonatal brain development process. Acetaminophen is the primary active ingredient in Tylenol and other medicines pregnant women often take, like Alka-Seltzer Plus and Excedrin, that ease muscle pain, headaches, digestive problems, and other pregnancy-related discomforts. For decades, retail pharmacists urged these women to take as much acetaminophen as they could tolerate.
No one knows how the brain works or why acetaminophen increases the risk of autism and ADHD. They just know there’s a connection. However, retailers like Safeway, Rite Aid, and Walmart ignored this known link. Instead, they kept telling pregnant women to take Tylenol.
That simple failure to warn is the basis of the Tylenol/ADHD/autism lawsuit. Generally, the more extended companies ignore health risks, the more compensation victims may receive. The Tylenol/autism/ADHD lawsuit is ongoing, and attorneys continue to accept new clients and file claims on their behalf.
Tylenol Tort: How Likely Is the OTC Drug to Cause ADHD or Autism?
The current class action lawsuit regroups over 100 cases. These cases represent over 100 families seeking damages from over a dozen retailers. This lawsuit is ongoing, and it’s difficult to tell how many families are dealing with a similar situation.
However, numbers show that Tylenol use in pregnancy is common. In any given week, 23% of U.S. adults will take treatments containing acetaminophen. Tylenol is often the go-to OTC treatment for headaches, sore muscles, and backaches. The active ingredient, acetaminophen, is also present in cold and flu medicines, sleep remedies, and other OTC products. Overall, there are over 600 products that contain this ingredient.
With more than a quarter of pregnant women reporting headaches, it’s no surprise that taking Tylenol during pregnancy is common. A Harvard study found that as many as 65% of expecting mothers took this OTC treatment during pregnancy.
ADHD and Autism Overview
Researchers have better understood these common neurodevelopmental disorders in recent years.
How Common is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It’s the most common disorder in this category. It typically appears before age six and can cause a lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
This condition lasts into adulthood. Experts believe that as many as 8.7 million adults have ADHD. As a child with ADHD grows, they can experience difficulties with social situations, school, and work.
In adults, ADHD can result in poor planning skills. Adults with ADHD can feel frustrated or restless. Focusing on tasks, coping with stress, and regulating emotions can be challenging.
Recent research suggests that children can develop different types of ADHD. While some children are primarily inattentive, others display symptoms linked to impulsiveness. Some children have a mix of symptoms.
A child with ADHD who is primarily inattentive might struggle with following instructions at school. Organization, keeping track of their belongings, performing chores, and focusing on tasks requiring sustained effort can be complex.
Children who primarily suffer from hyperactivity can struggle with staying still or being quiet. Spending an entire school day sitting at a desk can be challenging. These children also need help with activities that require them to wait for their turn and often interrupt others in conversations.
How Common is Autism?
ASD affects one in 36 children. Recent improvements in the screening and diagnosis process have revealed how typical this family of developmental disorders is.
However, diagnosing autism remains challenging because symptoms can vary from one child to another. ASD can lead to repetitive behaviors, impact communication, and delay some developmental milestones. Children with autism can struggle with social interactions and experience anxiety.
Symptoms can be difficult to associate with ASD since each autistic child has unique symptoms.
Parents often notice that their child communicates differently. They might avoid eye contact or fail to make appropriate facial expressions. They might also have limited interest in interacting with other children or adults.
Repetitive behaviors are also common. Children with ASD often play repetitively, such as lining up toys. They might use repetitive movements to soothe themselves.
Developmental delays are another common sign. A child with autism might fall behind in language, cognitive, or physical development. They can also develop unusual eating and sleeping habits.
In some children, parents notice a regression as the child seems to lose skills they had acquired.
Children with autism experience a wide range of challenges at school. Sensory issues can make their environment feel overwhelming. They might also need more learning time and struggle with behavioral and social problems.
With age, autistic children become more likely to develop co-occurring conditions. Some of these conditions are severe and require extensive medical care. Common co-occurring conditions include sleep disorders, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, obesity, diabetes, depression, and bipolar disorder.
What Causes ADHD and Autism?
The medical community doesn’t fully understand the causes of ADHD and ASD. However, experts have identified risk factors.
Research suggests that genetics play an essential role, with over 7,000 genetic variants linked to ADHD and ASD.
Environmental factors are important as well. Exposure to these factors can affect brain structure and chemistry, especially during a fetus’ early development.
Environmental factors linked to ADHD and ASD include brain injuries, neurotoxins, exposure to alcohol and tobacco, and birthing complications.
While Tylenol is generally safe to take if you follow the recommended dose, it falls under the neurotoxin umbrella.
Healthcare providers often recommend Tylenol because other options, like NSAID drugs, can cause kidney problems in fetuses or affect amniotic fluid levels. However, recent research and legal cases have made the medical community reconsider whether Tylenol is safe during pregnancy.
Is There a Treatment for Autism and ADHD?
Rather than treating these neurodevelopment disorders, healthcare providers focus on managing symptoms. With the help of a medical team, parents can formulate a personalized treatment plan that aims to improve the quality of life of their child.
Treatment plans can include medication, therapy, coaching, and unique accommodations. Developing an effective treatment plan takes time. It often requires resources that can be expensive or difficult to obtain.
Obtaining compensation via a Tylenol/ADHD/autism lawsuit can significantly affect these families. A payout can make new treatment methods available and facilitate access to the accommodation children with ADHD, or ASD need to thrive.
What Is Acetaminophen or Tylenol?
Acetaminophen or Paracetamol is a drug that falls into the analgesic class. It treats pain and also has an antipyretic effect that brings fever down.
This drug acts on the central nervous system. It reduces the activity of an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase, resulting in lower levels of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are a family of chemicals with properties similar to hormones. Synthesis of prostaglandins results in a sensation of pain and can also cause inflammation.
The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is unknown. Still, a substantial body of evidence shows that OTC drug effectively treats pain.
Researchers also believe that acetaminophen interacts with the serotonergic circuits of the brain. These structures are essential in serotonin production and interact with other critical brain structures.
Recent research also suggests acetaminophen might activate the brain’s cannabinoid system. This mechanism of action could explain how these OTC treatments address pain.
Even though experts don’t fully understand how Tylenol works, there is a long history of patients reporting no adverse side effects.
However, this treatment affects the chemistry of the brain and nervous system. The exact effects of these changes on a developing fetus are largely unknown.
Why Should I File a Claim?
Attorneys do not file injury claims to “blame” a retailer, manufacturer, or anyone else for a childhood brain disorder.
Generally, a civil injury case is the only way to force these entities to take responsibility for their mistakes. We all make mistakes, and in a perfect world, we’d immediately accept responsibility for those mistakes and promptly make things right. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. So, lawyers must often get involved.
Legal action may not reverse the effects of an injury, but the next best thing may happen. Suppose a settlement requires companies to change medicine warning labels or take other action. In that case, other families need not endure the same thing your family went through.
Additionally, families more involved in the process usually get a larger share of a settlement. Most class action and mass tort cases have two categories of victims: those who reached out to lawyers and otherwise invested themselves in the case and those victims who did not.
Settlements in these cases are usually large because the damages are significant. For example, people with ADHD earn over $1 million less than people without this brain disorder, even if they treat their symptoms. Future lost wages are just one component of a settlement, usually minor.
Current efforts to bring drug manufacturers and retailers to justice are already paying off. The FDA is considering whether it should update labeling requirements on products that contain acetaminophen.
New labels warning people of potential effects on the development of their unborn child will increase awareness and could protect the next generations.
The clock is ticking. Many observers expect the current retailer defendants in the Tylenol/autism/ADHD lawsuit to settle quickly before the matter expands to include other large companies such as Tylenol manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.
How Do I Prove a Claim?
The current defendants weren’t involved in the drug design or manufacturing process. Since defective product claims are unavailable, compensation in the Tylenol lawsuit hinges on the failure to warn doctrine. These and other negligence claims have four elements:
- Duty: Retailers are legally responsible for warning customers about known product risks, especially if the manufacturer doesn’t effectively warn people about that risk. Since autism and ADHD are severe, the warning must be prominent.
- Breach: Hidden warnings arguably breach the duty of care. Nonexistent signs, usually in the Tylenol/autism/ADHD lawsuit, almost certainly breach the duty of care.
- Cause: This element of a negligence case connects the breach and the damages. The defendants’ failure to warn about these side effects caused mothers to take Tylenol and unknowingly put their babies at risk.
- Damages: We mentioned one part of the damages in a Tylenol autism lawsuit payout above. Other components include anti-ADHD/autism drugs and emotional therapy costs. Tylenol lawsuit compensation also provides money for emotional distress and other noneconomic damages.
So, the essential elements necessary for a large Tylenol autism lawsuit payout are in place. As outlined below, your compensation amount depends on your situation, including costs, expenses, and losses. An attorney can help you assemble the necessary documents and file your claim.
Generally, there is no set rule on how much compensation you might receive if your claim succeeds. However, a punitive damages cap may apply in some cases.
What Compensation is Available if I Win the Case?
An injury claim’s settlement value starts with lost wages, medical bills, and other economic losses. Like an asking price, the settlement value is the starting point for financial negotiations. Other elements of the settlement value may include compensation for noneconomic losses, as well as punitive damages.
In most cases, these additional damages are available if the defendant deliberately ignores a known risk and puts people at risk.
Each case is unique. Because ADHD and autism vary so much, the financial impact can vary significantly from one family to another.
A Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payout can potentially cover the cost of treatment. I can also examine how the condition affects the child’s quality of life. Adults with ADHD and autism tend to earn less, and a lawsuit could aim to address reduced lifetime earnings.
Caregivers of children with ADHD and autism might also receive a Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payout. Compensation could cover lost wages due to providing care and mental anguish.
As most people know, financial negotiations for purchasing a new car, the amount of compensation in a Tylenol lawsuit, or anything else involves some give and take. The big difference is that customers have no advocate when negotiating a new car’s purchase price. During legal settlement negotiations, however, they have a strong advocate.
Nevertheless, you are not guaranteed compensation. The size of your Tylenol lawsuit payout depends on the evidence base and the degree of impairment caused by your exposure to the medication and its dose. More importantly, compensation in a Tylenol lawsuit depends on your attorney’s skill.
Tylenol ADHD Lawsuit – How Much Money Can Families Expect?
Coming up with a specific amount is problematic. Several factors can influence Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payouts, and compensation could vary from one family to another. Again, it’s essential to remember that there is no guarantee of payment.
The cost of treatment for ADHD or autism will be an essential consideration. For instance, some families are considering spending around $5,000 a year to cover the cost of medication and therapy for ADHD.
On the other end of the spectrum, families face yearly costs of $60,000 or more on Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for a child with ASD.
Beyond medication, therapy, and coaching, a Tylenol ADHD lawsuit payout could cover indirect costs. These costs might cover lost earnings and account for a reduced quality of life.
At the national level, experts believe that ADHD has a total cost of $122 billion due to unemployment and loss of productivity. This number suggests that ADHD and ASD have a significant lifelong impact on individuals who are affected.
Tylenol ADHD Lawsuit: A Timeline of Events
The Tylenol ADHD lawsuit is a complex case. This timeline of events reflects critical decisions and recent updates.
October 2022. A federal court consolidated multiple Tylenol ADHD and autism lawsuits into a single class action or multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Consolidating these cases is to manage the lawsuit more effectively and prevent contradicting judgments.
The MDL cited multiple defendants, including Costco, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway, Target, Walmart, and Johnson & Johnson. Walmart immediately filed a motion to dismiss, but the court rejected it.
December 2022. Judge Cote, the judge overseeing the Tylenol ADHD MDL, approved a Short Form Complaint. This form aims to help additional families file lawsuits and join the MDL.
January 2023. The federal court reviewing the Tylenol ADHD and autism lawsuit adopted a discovery plan. Johnson & Johnson produced documentation about acetaminophen, and the court began studying the body of medical evidence.
February 2023. With 83 cases added to the initial 18 lawsuits, the MDL started gaining momentum. The court issued an order to manage expert witnesses’ depositions and planned to continue the discovery process.
March 2023. Several things happened in March 2023. Johnson & Johnson and Walmart filed a new motion to dismiss. This motion argued that, since the FDA regulates labeling for products containing acetaminophen, the defendants aren’t guilty as long as they follow FDA regulations.
The court also adopted a new fact sheet for plaintiffs. This document aims to track medications used during pregnancy, record the symptoms experienced by children, and look at other potential risk factors.
As of March 2023, there were over 100 cases consolidated into the Tylenol ADHD class action lawsuit.
April 2023. The court denied Johnson & Johnson and Walmart’s motion to dismiss.
May 2023. Johnson & Johnson appealed this decision. The court decided to reject this appeal.
A separate Tylenol ADHD lawsuit processed in Texas reached a verdict. The court found that Texas law protects retailers from failure to warn as long as they follow FDA recommendations.
While this state law doesn’t apply to the class action lawsuit judged in a federal court, it sets a precedent for Tylenol ADHD lawsuits filed in Texas and states with similar laws.
June 2023. The number of lawsuits consolidated into the MDL reached 124.
July 2023. The MDL reached 200 cases, with over 60 lawsuits added.
August 2023. Johnson & Johnson filed a new motion to dismiss. This new motion to dismiss argues that preemption applies, meaning that a higher body should regulate the issue.
The court denied this motion to dismiss. It also asked the FDA to review the possibility of adding warning labels on acetaminophen products. The FDA will decide in September 2023.
What’s Next for the Tylenol ADHD and Autism Class Action Lawsuit?
The court is waiting for the FDA to consider adding warning labels to Tylenol and other OTC treatments with acetaminophen. During this process, the FDA will review medical research and determine whether there is enough evidence to show clear causation.
While this decision doesn’t directly affect the judgment, it represents an official statement from a government agency. It could go a long way in supporting the growing body of medical evidence that shows a connection between Tylenol and ADHD and autism.
The MDL began in November 2022. Typically, class action lawsuits can take two to three years to conclude.
So far, the court’s position has been favorable to the plaintiffs. The court has denied multiple motions to dismiss filed by the defendants, suggesting that retailers and manufacturers will face consequences.
Once the federal court reaches a judgment, this MDL will set a precedent. It will open the door for additional Tylenol ADHD and autism lawsuits, and the decision reached in federal court will strongly influence the outcome of these future lawsuits.
What’s the Best Course of Action for Parents of Children With ADHD or Autism?
If you’re a parent or adult child dealing with an ADHD or ASD diagnosis that could result from Tylenol use, there are a few options to explore.
Getting a Diagnosis
The first step should be to get a medical diagnosis if you don’t already have one. For children who show symptoms of ADHD, such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, a pediatrician or mental health professional can issue a diagnosis.
These professionals can use the DSM-5 criteria to assess your child and formulate a treatment plan.
Obtaining an autism diagnosis can be challenging. It can take years before a healthcare professional reaches a definite diagnosis. Typically, children with ASD symptoms require ongoing monitoring through regular developmental screenings.
While ADHD diagnoses are common in adults, getting a reliable ASD diagnosis later in life can be challenging since there are no official diagnostic tests for adults.
Having an existing diagnosis will streamline filing a Tylenol ADHD lawsuit. Still, a lawyer can advise if you don’t have an official diagnosis for your child yet. Getting a diagnosis is also the first step to developing a personalized treatment plan that will help manage your child’s symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Seeking Legal Representation
Getting help from a lawyer is the best course of action. A legal expert can review your situation and determine your case’s validity.
A lawyer can also help you consider whether it’s best to join the existing Tylenol ADHD class action lawsuit or sue independently.
Joining the Tylenol ADHD/Autism MDL
Having your Tylenol ADHD or autism case consolidated into the existing class action lawsuit can streamline litigations. The federal court is actively reviewing the scientific evidence. It has shown it intends to bring defendants to justice by denying several motions to dismiss.
A lawyer can help you gather relevant medical information and other documents. They can help fill out your fact sheet and generally assist with onboarding.
Your lawyer will also keep you up to date with the latest developments from the MDL. They will answer your questions about how much money to expect from the Tylenol ADHD and autism lawsuit.
Filing a Separate Lawsuit
Joining the MDL means giving up your rights to file a separate lawsuit. Another possible path is to independently sue a retailer, manufacturer, or healthcare provider.
The latest decisions in the ongoing MDL can influence your case, but a state court will reach an independent decision.
Filing a separate lawsuit can be a good option if you took Tylenol after a healthcare provider or retailer excluded from the MDL recommended this OTC treatment.
A lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a separate lawsuit and explore any state laws or unique circumstances that would warrant filing a case outside of the MDL.
The Tylenol ADHD/Autism Lawsuit in the News
As the Tylenol ADHD class action lawsuit progresses, news outlets have increasingly reported on the issue.
Research in Norway
CBS News reported the possible connection between acetaminophen and ADHD as early as 2017. This news story summarizes the findings of a group of researchers from Norway.
The study showed that mothers who used Tylenol during pregnancy were likelier to give birth to children with ADHD symptoms. The study also found that prolonged and regular use of the OTC treatment increases the risks.
Research from John Hopkins University
Back in 2019, researchers at John Hopkins University published research on ADHD and ASD. After analyzing umbilical cord blood, these researchers determined that exposure to acetaminophen made a fetus three times more likely to develop ADHD or autism.
Researchers Issue a Consensus Statement
The body of scientific research continued growing after the study from John Hopkins University.
In 2021, over 90 researchers signed a consensus statement published in Nature Review Endocrinology.
The statement draws attention to a possible link between the increased use of OTC products and higher diagnosis rates for neurodevelopmental conditions. These scientists called for taking precautionary action.
The Multidistrict Litigation Begins
Reuters was one of the first news outlets to report on the Tylenol ADHD class action lawsuit. At the time of publication in October 2022, the MDL combined 66 cases.
Research from Penn State University
Researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine collected data over more than three years to follow a group of 2,400 first-time mothers during and after their pregnancy.
Out of these 2,400 women, over 41% took acetaminophen during their pregnancy. Three years later, over 22% of these women reported sleep problems for their toddlers, and over 32% said their children had attention issues.
The rates of women reporting sleep issues and attention issues are around 19 and 28% among the group who didn’t use acetaminophen during pregnancy.
The researchers theorized that Tylenol might affect the fetuses’ placenta, liver cells, or gut health, affecting brain and nervous system development. They concluded that there is a need for additional research on the topic.
A Renowned Epidemiologist Weighs In
Roberta Ness was one of the first scientists to draw attention to the link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
She weighed in on the Tylenol ADHD lawsuit in November 2022 as more news outlets started discussing potential risks associated with acetaminophen.
Houston-based news station Fox 26 published a piece about the link between Tylenol and neurodevelopment conditions.
This story discusses the existing medical research on the issue. It explains how everyday exposure to acetaminophen is among pregnant women. This news story illustrates how local news outlets can play a role in educating parents about the issue.
Due to users sharing incomplete or misleading claims on social media, a fact-checking site published a detailed article to discuss the possible link between acetaminophen and ADHD.
This detailed piece discusses why healthcare providers recommend Tylenol and similar treatments to help manage pain during pregnancy. It also looks at research on umbilical cord blood that shows a connection between Tylenol and ADHD. Still, it also highlights the potential use of flawed research methods in other studies.
This exciting read is a reminder that the scientific community hasn’t reached a clear consensus on the issue yet.
Registered Nurse and Mother Karleen DeGroodt Speaks out
What is life like for the families affected by the Tylenol ADHD lawsuit? Registered nurse and mother Karleen DeGroodt shared her experience with her autistic son in an interview.
The parents first noticed a lack of eye contact from their young son. After their child missed several developmental milestones, the family worked with a medical team to develop a treatment plan.
The plan used genetic testing and other methods to rule out potential causes for these symptoms.
Tylenol use remained the only logical explanation for their son’s condition.
The DeGroodt family sees the lawsuit as an opportunity to educate parents and the medical community about the risks of taking Tylenol during pregnancy.
Adopting a Short Form Complaint
The Tylenol/ADHD lawsuit received some attention from legal news sites after the court approved using a short-form complaint.
This story explains how plaintiffs introduced this measure as a way of recording the details of each case. This document is essential in coordinating the complex information tied to this lawsuit.
Statutes of Limitation and the Tylenol ADHD Lawsuit
A statute of limitation determines the maximum time for bringing up legal action. Are there any statutes of limitation that apply to Tylenol ADHD lawsuits? Can these statutes affect how much a Tylenol ADHD lawsuit awards to a defendant?
Federal Statute of Limitation
Consolidating multiple lawsuits into a class action lawsuit means federal law applies to the Tylenol ADHD MDL.
Under federal law, there is a statute of limitation of five years for most offenses.
Statutes of Limitation and State Laws
State laws will apply if you file an independent lawsuit against a retailer, manufacturer, or healthcare provider.
The statute of limitation can vary from one state to another. Most states have a regulation of two or three years, with some exceptions:
- Statutes of limitation can be as short as one year, for instance, in Tennessee.
- Wyoming, Florida, and Nebraska are examples of states with a four-year statute.
- Missouri has an even longer statute of limitation at five years.
- Maine has the most extended statute of limitation at six years.
Is It Too Late to File a Tylenol ADHD Lawsuit?
From a legal perspective, the statute of limitation begins when the incident occurs. However, in certain states, exceptions exist if you don’t immediately notice the damage or injury.
It can take years for symptoms to appear, and getting an ADHD or ASD diagnosis can be lengthy. In most cases, the statute of limitation will not begin when you take Tylenol but when you become aware of your child’s neurodevelopmental condition.
Having a lawyer by your side can make a difference in determining when the statute of limitation begins in your case.
Medical research is another critical consideration. Research showing a link between Tylenol and ADHD has grown over the past few years. However, research might have been limited at the time of your pregnancy.
A lawyer can help review these facts and determine whether retailers, manufacturers, and healthcare providers have enough credible scientific information at their disposal to warn against Tylenol use at the time of your pregnancy.
Because of the different statutes of limitation, it’s best to take action as early as possible and reach out to a lawyer to help determine if you have a valid case.
Getting Started With a Tylenol ADHD or Autism Lawsuit
Did you take Tylenol during your pregnancy? Did your child receive an ADHD or autism diagnosis years later? You should seek legal representation.
A lawyer will help you determine if you have a valid claim. They will discuss your options and help you decide if joining the existing class action lawsuit is the best.
Your lawyer can also assist with gathering relevant medical documentation, filling out paperwork if you decide to join the MDL, or taking the necessary steps to file an independent lawsuit in a state court.
Are you ready to take the next step? Action Matters can help with a free case review. Tell us more about your unique situation, and we’ll help you determine if you’re a candidate for a Tylenol/ADHD/autism lawsuit.
Contact us today to take the first step toward partnering with an attorney and receiving maximum compensation in a Tylenol lawsuit.