Are you the parent of a child with autism? If they were exposed to the over-the-counter medication Tylenol or any medication containing acetaminophen in-utero, you need to be aware of the potential link between this drug and the development of autism spectrum disorder. Attorneys are standing by to explain more about your rights in a South Carolina Tylenol autism pregnancy lawsuit.
We offer initial consultations that are completely free and come with no added obligations. This means that meeting with The Solomon Law Group to discuss your legal rights does not create any requirement for you to continue working with our law firm.
Acetaminophen—Is It Actually Safe for Pregnancy?
In the United States, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is labeled as a “Pregnancy Category B” substance. This classification means that it is supposed to be safe to take during pregnancy.
Obstetricians often advise their pregnant patients that Tylenol is one of the safest possible medications to take during pregnancy. Also known by the name paracetamol, acetaminophen falls under two different classes of medications: antipyretic (fever reducer) and analgesic (pain reliever).
Tylenol is generally used to reduce fevers and to treat minor pains and aches, such as:
- Muscle pain
However, recent research indicates that the over-the-counter medication Tylenol may have a negative impact on the neurological health of developing fetuses. Studies linked exposure to acetaminophen in utero to a higher risk of both attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Every pregnancy is different, though. If a patient is experiencing any type of pain, injury, illness, or medical condition, they should work closely with their doctor to weigh the pros and cons of medical intervention—including taking certain medications.
Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Infants and Children
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorder “is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.” Children and adults with ASD may struggle with communication and social interactions and face a range of other challenges throughout life.
Parents of infants who may have been exposed to Tylenol or any products with acetaminophen during pregnancy should monitor their children’s behavior closely. If you notice any of these signs of ASD in your infant, schedule an appointment with their pediatrician:
- Avoids or fails to maintain eye contact
- Fails to show happiness, sadness, and other emotions through facial expressions
- Does not respond to their name by 9 months
- Does not engage in simple interactive games by 12 months (like pat-a-cake)
- Does not use hand gestures by 12 months (or only uses very few)
- Does not point to items of interest by 18 months
- Does not notice other’s feelings of upset or hurt by 24 months
- Does not join play with other children by 36 months
- Does not engage in pretend play by 48 months
- Does not dance or sing for parents or caregivers by 60 months
For infants and babies, signs of ASD are often defined by a failure to hit certain developmental milestones.
Autism manifests differently in toddlers and older children. According to the CDC, these signs can include:
- Lining up toys or objects
- Echolalia (repeating specific phrases or words over and over again)
- Playing with the same toys in the same way every time
- Hyperfocus on specific parts of a toy or object (such as just the wheels)
- Obsessive and intense interests
- Feelings of distress over minor changes
- Adherence to specific and repeated routines
- Unusual or over-the-top reactions to specific smells, tastes, feels, or sounds
- Stims (flapping hands, spinning in circles, or rocking body)
No two children on the autism spectrum will exhibit the same signs and symptoms. If you believe that your child may have ASD (even if they lack some of the most common signs and symptoms), make an appointment with their pediatrician. Their doctor can evaluate them for possible signs of autism and, if necessary, refer you to specialists for a more thorough evaluation.
And if your child has been diagnosed with autism and you believe it was caused by exposure to Tylenol or other acetaminophen-containing products, please get in touch with The Solomon Law Group as soon as possible. We’ll help you evaluate your claim and whether you have any legal standing to file a South Carolina Tylenol autism pregnancy lawsuit.
Exploring the Potential Link Between Tylenol Products and Autism Diagnoses
A study jointly funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality found that “exposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase a child’s risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder.”
The study was based on an analysis of data from the Boston Birth Cohort, a “long-term study of factors influencing pregnancy and child development.”
Researchers divided children in the study into three groups, from lowest to highest, based on their exposure to acetaminophen and its byproducts. Children in the middle group were 2.14 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD compared to children in the lowest exposure group. And children with the most exposure were 3.62 times more likely to develop ASD than those who had little to no exposure at all.
Ingestion of acetaminophen during pregnancy can also raise the risk of ADHD, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The JAMA Psychiatry Study
Published in 2020, a study entitled “Association of Prenatal Acetaminophen Exposure Measured in Meconium With Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Mediated by Frontoparietal Network Brain Connectivity” found a link between acetaminophen and autism spectrum disorder.
More specifically, the study determined that acetaminophen can impair fetal brain development through at least two functionalities:
- Directly by inducing apoptosis and oxidative stress in a fetus’ brain.
- Indirectly by disrupting developmental hormones.
The Consensus Statement
A Consensus Statement jointly developed by an international group of experts (including experts in neurology as well as obstetrics and gynecology) calls for precautionary action on the use of Tylenol and acetaminophen-containing medications during pregnancy. This call to action is based on the potential link between these medications and the development of autism spectrum disorder in children.
The statement contains a number of recommendations, including reducing the use of acetaminophen to the shortest period of time and dosage possible. And when possible, the statement also recommends that pregnant patients avoid consuming acetaminophen altogether.
Childhood Autism in the United States
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects people from all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Let’s look at more data about ASD in the United States, as reported by the CDC.
- 1 in 36 children fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.
- ASD is approximately 4 times more common in boys than it is in girls.
- Approximately 17% of all children have some type of developmental disability, including ASD.
In the year 2000, only one in every 150 children in the U.S. was diagnosed with autism. Factors that have contributed to the increase in ASD diagnoses include:
- Increased awareness and understanding of ASD
- Earlier screenings and evaluations
- A broadening of definable symptoms under the umbrella of “autism spectrum disorder”
Some scientists and researchers also believe that the increase in diagnoses is about more than just doctors getting better at spotting and diagnosing the condition. Exposure to other factors or substances in utero and into the first several years of life can also increase a child’s risk of developing autism. This may include exposure to Tylenol and other acetaminophen products, air pollutants, certain pesticides, and more.
Breaking Down Tylenol Autism Pregnancy Lawsuits
The first lawsuit over the link between Tylenol and childhood neurological disorders was filed in June 2022. Tiffany Rutledge filed the lawsuit on behalf of her two children, both of whom were diagnosed with ADHD at the time of filing. One of her children was also undergoing evaluation for autism.
Her suit claims that she had taken acetaminophen throughout both her pregnancies, and she believed that in-utero exposure had led to her children’s disorders. The case was filed against retail giant Walmart, in which they were blamed for:
- Failing to place warning labels on medications containing acetaminophen, and
- Concealing prenatal risks associated with taking acetaminophen during pregnancy.
The suit has yet to be settled.
More recently, the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to consolidate all lawsuits filed over the link between Tylenol and autism in United States Federal Courts. If you and your family choose to file a lawsuit in Federal Court, your case will be included in multidistrict litigation (MDL), also known as a class action lawsuit.
These types of lawsuits can be particularly confusing to navigate, as there are often strict filing deadlines and a number of requirements for evidence and documentation. If you’re planning on filing a claim or have recently filed a lawsuit, know that our legal team is here for you.
The Solomon Law Group is based in South Carolina but has the resources, knowledge, and expertise needed to represent you in the Federal Court system.
Compensation for Children Whose Development Was Harmed in the Womb
When someone is injured or harmed through the negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions of another party, the law affords an opportunity to seek justice. For victims of dangerous or defective products, this can include recovering compensation that addresses the damages they’ve suffered.
A child who was diagnosed with autism because of in-utero exposure to Tylenol may be entitled to compensation for:
- Related medical bills
- The cost of therapeutic treatments
- Specialized school fees
- Mental anguish
- And more
It is important to work closely with an attorney who has extensive experience correctly valuing the worth of highly complex legal claims. To speak with an attorney who is best suited to meet you and your family’s needs, give The Solomon Law Group a call or contact us online so that we can schedule you for a completely free case evaluation.
The Lifelong Impact of an Autism Diagnosis
Autism spectrum disorder can affect every facet of a person’s life, from their interpersonal relationships to their schoolwork and education. However, it’s important to understand that autism exists along a spectrum, with some people experiencing more significant symptoms and limitations than others.
It is impossible to quantify what the typical lifelong outlook is for a person with autism when every person with autism is unique.
What we can do, however, is address some of the common challenges that people with ASD typically face. This may include difficulties:
- Attending school or completing coursework
- Communicating with others (especially if non-verbal)
- Maintaining meaningful friendships
- Traveling independently, whether by driving or on public transportation
- Living independently away from parents or caregivers
- Maintaining steady employment
Again, this isn’t every person’s lived experience with autism. What one person may struggle to accomplish another may find easy. Many children and adults with ASD may even appear to handle daily challenges easily, even as they are masking to hide just how difficult it is to conform to neurotypical expectations.
If your child has ASD, it is important to work closely with their doctors (including any mental health specialists) to give them as much support as they need to live a happy life.
Treatment Options for Children with Autism
Treatments for autism largely focus on helping children and adults cope with their condition. There is no universal or one-size-fits-all approach because every person is different.
If your child was recently diagnosed with autism, their doctor may have advised that they participate in one or more of the following therapies or treatments:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Behavioral management therapy
- Joint attention therapy
- Educational and school-based therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech-language therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Physical therapy
- Social skills training
Early intervention is highly effective at helping children learn to cope with their ASD, and research published by the NIH has found that “early diagnosis and interventions, such as during preschool or before, are more likely to have major positive effects on symptoms and later skills.”
Community support and help with integration into social settings can also be key in helping children with ASD live the happiest and most fulfilling lives possible.
The Solomon Law Group—Legal Advocates for Life’s Toughest Times
The Solomon Law Group is a South Carolina-based law firm made up of experienced and knowledgeable litigators. We provide unparalleled legal guidance and representation for life’s most difficult times. Our attorneys represent families with children who have autism as well as adults living with ASD who believe that Tylenol caused their diagnoses.
If you’re ready to take the first steps toward filing a Tylenol autism pregnancy lawsuit, we’re here to help. We start every attorney-client relationship with a completely free, no-obligation case evaluation. So contact us today either by phone or online so that we can schedule your first informational meeting.