Autism is a brain development disorder, which can cause significant difficulties in social interaction and communication. For many families, the diagnosis of autism can be a devastating blow. It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do after your child is diagnosed with autism. Some research has been done on the effects of acetaminophen on the risk of developing autism, but the results are mixed.
However, legal options may be available if the side effects of acetaminophen have harmed your child. It is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney if you need help pursuing a Tylenol-related autism claim. Here are some of the legal options if your child has been harmed due to the use of acetaminophen.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of complex developmental brain disorders characterized by difficulties with communication, social interaction, and behavior. They are typically diagnosed in childhood and continue into adulthood.
The cause of autism spectrum disorders is not known, but there are many risk factors that have been identified in the research literature. These risk factors include genetics, low birth weight and premature birth, infections during pregnancy such as rubella and cytomegalovirus, multiple pregnancy, perinatal stroke, head injury, seizures during infancy or childhood, and use of certain medications during pregnancy and in early childhood.
While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorders, many treatment options can help improve an individual’s quality of life. These treatments can include behavioral therapy, medication, and diet and nutrition counseling.
What is Acetaminophen?
Acetaminophen is the most common active ingredient found in over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol. It is a type of pain reliever called a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Other common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and aspirin. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million prescriptions for acetaminophen are written each year in the United States.
It is the most commonly used medicine for children, as it is often used to treat fever and pain caused by conditions such as the flu and ear infections. It is also used to relieve pain associated with headaches and muscle aches. Acetaminophen is generally considered safe when it is taken as directed.
However, research has linked Tylenol to ADHD and autism in young children. Studies have shown that children exposed to acetaminophen in the womb are more likely to develop autism or other cognitive or behavioral problems than those not exposed. Experts are still trying to determine if there is a direct causal link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and the development of autism in children.
Hiring an Attorney
If you or your child has developed symptoms of autism after being prescribed acetaminophen while pregnant, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer of the drug through a product liability lawsuit. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and help you determine whether you have a viable claim. A lawyer can also help you gather evidence and prepare for trial if necessary.
An attorney’s main focus will be gathering enough evidence to prove that the drug maker was negligent in failing to warn consumers of the risks associated with using their product. This may include presenting witness testimony from doctors or therapists who have treated autistic patients who suffered adverse side effects after taking acetaminophen.
It may also be necessary to obtain records from your baby’s doctor to prove a link between the drug use and the developmental delays he or she experienced. In some cases, it may also be necessary to present medical literature that establishes the link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism and other disorders.
To successfully prove a case against a drug manufacturer, your attorney must establish that the defendant had a duty to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of using the product and that there was a breach of this duty. This will require a thorough review of the product label and packaging and any relevant scientific studies that may have been conducted on the drug in the past.
Your attorney will also want to review any reports and correspondence regarding the parent company’s warnings to doctors and patients at the time of the product’s release. This will allow them to determine whether or not the defendant met their obligation to adequately communicate the risks associated with use of the product.
If your child has been diagnosed with autism after being exposed to acetaminophen in the womb, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer to receive compensation for medical expenses and other expenses related to the diagnosis. Contact an attorney today to learn more about your options.