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You will find answers to some frequently asked questions.
Please feel free to contact us if you don't get your questions answered below.
What is acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen, also known as APAP or paracetamol, is an analgesic drug used to treat minor pain and fever. Manufacturers and distributors sell the drug in both over-the-counter formulas and prescription strengths. The most common name brand of acetaminophen, Tylenol, is manufactured by McNeil Consumer Products Co., a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some autistic people have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known, but are believed to be environmental factors. Scientists believe 1) multiple causes of ASD act together to change the most common ways people develop, and 2) ASD is most often caused by the activation of certain gene expressions in the brain.

Autistic people may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most others. Often, nothing about how they look sets them apart from other people.
How do I know if my child is autistic?
Because autism doesn’t manifest physically, it can be challenging to determine if your child is autistic, but there are behavioral exams that can confirm a diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be diagnosed at 18 months or younger. Still, a diagnosis cannot be reliable until the age of two. Early diagnosis is critical to improving the long-term quality of life of autistic children.

During appointments to determine if a child has ASD, doctors look for issues that fall into two categories: 1) challenges with communication and social interaction or 2) restricted and repetitive behavior patterns.

Potential signs that your child may be autistic include, but are not limited to:

5 Early warning signs:
No babbling or pointing by the age of one
No single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
Poor eye contact
Excessive lining up or organization of toys/objects
Little to no smiling

5 Later warning signs:
An impaired ability to make friends
Repetitive or unusual language
An intense or focused interest
The impairment (or total absence) of social or imaginative play
Being inflexible in relation to specific routines or rituals
What is a mass tort? What is a mass tort lawsuit?
A mass tort is a form of injury or harm caused by an act or omission that harms or injures many people. Mass tort actions, also known as mass tort suits, are collections of individual lawsuits that allege the same harm against the same defendants and are grouped together by a judicial panel to reduce redundancies in the judicial system. Unlike the more well-known “class-action lawsuit,” mass tort suits ultimately have two meaningful differences:

1. They give individuals more control over the specific outcome of their case. Individuals retain their right to select an attorney and if they wish to accept the settlement offered, in the case of a successful suit.

2. Watts Guerra’s mass tort lawsuits cost absolutely nothing to join. We will represent all qualified mothers whose children are autistic on a contingency basis. This contingency means you will never pay any attorneys’ fees unless we win compensation in your case. To access your free, no-obligation consultation, use the online form feature on this site. One of our team members handling the Autism Justice Legal claims will contact you to answer any of your questions.

Mass torts may take years to conclude but often result in a financial settlement.
Will taking Tylenol during my pregnancy increase the chance that my child is autistic compared to if I didn't take Tylenol?
Yes. Mothers taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) while pregnant have an increased chance of having an autistic child compared to those that did not ingest acetaminophen while pregnant, depending on how much and how long acetaminophen was ingested. Though commonplace, acetaminophen is one of the strongest and least-understood pain-relieving medications on the market, and information about its effects on pregnant women has only recently become public.

A growing body of research suggests a consistent association between pregnant women who take acetaminophen and the chance of their child being autistic. Researchers have demonstrated this association to be robust and meaningful in six independent research studies examining over 105,000 mother and child pairs. Follow-up studies that collected data from previous research found a 20 to 30% increased chance of a child developing autism. The results were especially significant if the mother took more than ten doses of acetaminophen during pregnancy. Biological assessments of umbilical cord blood and a baby’s first bowel movement have verified this connection and demonstrated a consistent, strong, and verifiable link between the quantity and duration of acetaminophen use and higher rates of autism in children.
How strong is the scientific evidence that acetaminophen use during pregnancy led to autism in my children?
Dr. Bernard Harlow, a researcher at Boston University School of Public Health, studies women’s health and has contributed to our research center that summarizes all the research done to date that examines this association.

The largest and most rigorously designed studies measured acetaminophen use prior to any autism diagnosis. Symptoms of autism were assessed using a variety of scientifically validated and standardized behavioral measurements. All studies came to a similar conclusion: a consistent association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and greater likelihood of autism. The critical review of the scientific literature reveals that neither drug manufacturers nor scientists have reliably proven acetaminophen to be completely safe for use in pregnant women.

It is important to note that science cannot carry out randomized, controlled trials, the standard for determining a causal relationship, because these experimental studies on pregnant women, which would help to prove the hypothesis, are unethical and impermissible under the American Medical Association Maternal-Fetal Research Guidelines. However, despite the lack of a confirmed causal relationship, the weight of the science has discouraged many doctors from recommending the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy. A consortium of doctors released a consensus statement on the safety of acetaminophen in the medical journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology in 2021. In it, they cautioned pregnant women against the use of acetaminophen during their pregnancy.
How does acetaminophen impact autism in pregnant women and their children?
While we don’t yet fully understand how acetaminophen impacts autism, Dr. Harlow has reviewed the evidence of acetaminophen’s negative impact on critical functions of brain development in fetuses. The most convincing of the biological rationale is acetaminophen’s impact on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), a protein that stimulates the linking of neurons in the brain during development. Acetaminophen leads to an overproduction of BDNF and limits the natural process used to eliminate some of these linked neurons, leading to babies potentially being born with too many, a characteristic shared with many autistic children. Others include:

1. Acetaminophen blocks the synthesis of Prostaglandin E2, a biomarker that monitors temperature and pain in the body to trigger inflammation. Animal models have shown that when this biomarker is blocked, toxicity increases in the blood due to a loss of oxygen intake, and brain development experiences significant delays.

2. Blocking the synthesis of Vanilloid Receptors. These critical pieces of brain function help us detect sharp pain or hot food, and, without them, reactions to certain forms of stimuli are slowed.

3. When acetaminophen is degraded by the liver, its components release oxygen molecules known as oxidative radicals which can damage cells during brain development. Glutathione, which the body produces to eliminate these oxygen radicals, is depleted which coincidentally aligns with observations that autistic children have lower levels of glutathione.
Why have my doctors recommended I take drugs containing acetaminophen for pain in my pregnancy if it is potentially dangerous? Why are we told it's safe?
Big pharmaceutical manufacturers and sellers have been telling doctors that acetaminophen is the only safe way to treat pain during pregnancy for decades. But, they know or should know about the potential dangers of taking acetaminophen while pregnant and should have warned women. Instead of heeding the word of doctors and researchers, Big Pharma has continued to falsely assure medical professionals that acetaminophen is safe for the sake of profits.
Am I entitled to financial compensation for taking acetaminophen during my pregnancy? How can I get the monetary compensation? Does it cost to file a case?
Mothers of autistic children who took 10 or more doses of acetaminophen are potentially eligible to file a case. To access your free, no-obligation consultation, use the online form feature on this site. One of our team members handling the Autism Justice Legal claims will contact you to answer any of your questions.

Filing a case is completely free of charge. The lawyers of Watts Guerra have a proven track record of serious, high-value results. We believe in our ability to win your case; therefore, we accept all of our cases on a contingency fee basis. You will not owe us anything unless we recover on your behalf.
Can I file a claim if I used generic acetaminophen?
Yes, the cases included in this mass tort lawsuit target the drug sellers, not the drug makers. The drug seller's responsibility is to warn pregnant women of the potential for harm when using acetaminophen, regardless of the specific brand of drug used.
What can pregnant women who need pain relief use instead of acetaminophen?
Bernard Harlow, PhD:

There needs to be new methods to explore ways to treat pregnant women who are in pain. Right now, there are not any good analgesic alternatives to acetaminophen for pregnant women experiencing pain during pregnancy. We're a society that's always looking for a pill, to treat our health issues. But that isn't always the answer when the pill isn't safe.

The lack of alternatives is due, in part, to the limited research into women’s health. It is too often underfunded and dismissed and our society underestimates and undervalues the importance of protecting and improving women’s health. Scientists should work to find solutions and alternatives to acetaminophen for pregnant women.
Where can I learn more?
You can learn more about the evidence-based association between acetaminophen and autism by visiting our research center. You can determine if you qualify for participation in the mass tort by filling out the form here.
Disclaimer: This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

You and your child deserve justice.