Acetaminophen and Autism, ADD/ADHD

By: Dr. Ben Connolly, DC, Jan 05, 2015

What is causing the increase in autism?

Do you keep acetaminophen in your house and give it to your children when they have a fever or are in pain? Do you use it for yourself when you are in pain from a headache or sore muscles? New evidence is showing that this may not be safe and instead could be responsible for the increase in Autism, Asthma, ADD and ADHD which have seen an increase since the 1980’s.

Acetaminophen is one of the over the counter drugs which sends more people to the emergency room and is also the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. In 2006-2007, Acetaminophen over doses sent seventy eight thousand, four hundred and fourteen (78,414) people to the emergency room in the United States! A side effect of Acetaminophen is that it depletes a natural anti-oxidant our liver makes called glutathione. Glutathione is extremely important in our body and protects our brain from chemical damage. As regular acetaminophen is continued glutathione becomes depleted which leaves many systems of the body vulnerable to toxicity.

Acetaminophen use rose drastically in the early 1980’s when it replaced Aspirin. Since then the incidence of Autism, Asthma and Attention Deficit Disorder have risen dramatically. The reason for this appears to be that acetaminophen is associated with death of very important brain cells called Purkinje cells. Again it does this through glutathione depletion

This paper also highlights very interesting differences in vaccine treatment between the United States and Cuba. In Cuba vaccines are compulsory and not optional like they are in the United States and here in Canada. Yet Cuba has an extremely low percentage of children with Autism. The United States has 298 times more instances of autism than Cuba. So if vaccines are not responsible for Autism, which we now all know due to the recent news of a specific researcher falsifying data, than what is causing the increased autism?

A practice which has become more common in the United States is recommending parents of children coming to be vaccinated to begin taking acetaminophen prophylactically up to 5 days before receiving a vaccination to prevent a fever. This differs from Cuba where acetaminophen is a prescribed drug and not available over the counter. Also in Cuba anti-pyretic drug use is not the standard of practice. If a fever persists for more than 2 days than a return visit to a physician is recommended and the drug metamizole is prescribed, not acetaminophen (read more). 

Finally another article was recently released which supports this hypothesis. Bauer and Kriebel reported that the use of acetaminophen in pregnancy was strongly correlated with autism and autism spectrum disorder. They also found that after 1995, acetaminophen was commonly used to treat circumcision pain and that there was a strong correlation between country-level autism prevalence in males and a country’s circumcision rate. A very similar pattern was seen in the United States. 

Based on this new research we must rethink about our medical practice of recommending acetaminophen so liberally. We must learn when it is appropriate to treat a fever and how to manage it naturally and safely instead of running to the medicine cabinet and grabbing a medication which puts thousands of people in the emergency room, is the number one cause of liver failure and now may be increase autism, ADD/ADHD and asthma.

Since Dr. Ben Connolly graduated from medical school to start a practice, he has realized that to become an excellent doctor and not just a good doctor, he needed to build on his current foundation and expand his knowledge base. This thirst for knowledge has led him to enrol in several courses across North America to learn from the experts and leaders in their respective fields of medicine.

These opportunities have allowed him to enrich his skills and learn new treatment modalities in order to provide the highest calibre of patient care. Dr. Connolly is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) as well as the Nova Scotia Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NSAND).

Dr. Connolly is the owner of Cornerstone Naturopathic Inc. in Upper Tantallon, NS.