Autism spectrum disorder related to unwarranted paracetamol use in pregnancy: letter to the editor
There has been a rapid increase in self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, mostly paracetamol, by pregnant women lately. [1,2] Its rampant use is due to easy availability and cost-effectiveness. Pregnant women mostly self-medicate for nausea, vomiting, backache and fever. [A study from Pakistan reported OTC drug use by 37.9% of pregnant women, whereas 77.4% of them were unaware of its indications, dosages and potential hazards. Their use of OTC drugs was based on the experience or recommendations of relatives and pharmacists.  This unchecked use of paracetamol can be dangerous in pregnancy because its metabolites cross the placenta and blood-brain barrier of the fetus readily and pose significant risk to the normal neurodevelopment of the fetus, by interfering with the immunologic development of the brain.