Vaccines, Tylenol & Childhood Disorders

In 2015 California governor Brown signed bill SB277, which was the strictest vaccine mandate in the entire U.S. The bill stated every child must receive all forty doses of ten federally recommended vaccinations in order to attend school, private school, daycare, or after school program. The law went into effect this past July 2016. Parents not complying have been forced to find other alternatives like home schooling this school year.

California went even further this September, requiring mandatory vaccinations for daycare providers, teachers, head start teachers, and after school program providers. Hawaii also had several bills trying to introduce mandatory vaccinations this year. These did not pass, but it’s likely that there will be attempts to pass them through again in the future.

This article is not here to weigh in on the controversy about vaccines. My intention for writing this article is to bring to light research surrounding the active drug in Tylenol, an acetaminophen, and one of the most common medications people have for pain. Back in 2009 a review article appeared in the “Alternative Medicine Review” citing a preliminary study published in 2008 suggesting: Acetaminophen use after the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination is associated with autistic disorder. The article also cited that exposure to acetaminophen during pregnancy increases the chances of hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms in children by as much as 40% compared to non-exposed children. In fact, the greater the frequency of use by the mother raised the likelihood to double that of non-exposed children.

Earlier this year in the same journal, it was detailed that an increased risk of asthma associated with the use of acetaminophen was also evident. The findings provide evidence, “that prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure have independent associations with asthma development.” The increases were quite significant: as much as 5 times higher depending on the amount of acetaminophen taken. While this is a far cry from a meta-analysis, doctors need more studies looking at the connection between acetaminophen, vaccines, and the resulting childhood disorders that occur. 

Parents who choose to vaccinate their children may decide to remove this route of possible risk by limiting exposure of acetaminophen during pregnancy. They may also choose to limit giving children acetaminophen (Tylenol related products) after receiving vaccinations.

As parents we are doing the absolute best we can to protect and raise healthy vibrant children. We all want our children to be safe, and have the best possible start to a long and healthy life. Whether you choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate, make an informed decision from reliable research and leaders in epidemiology.

Image Credit: Joanna Tano

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