Bad pharma? Or just bad reporting?

I was just glancing through my Facebook feed, and on the right hand side with all the advertising in the “trending” section is an article entitled: “Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder: Tylenol During Pregnancy Linked To Higher Risk of ADHD“.

Tylenol? Really? Just Tylenol and not the hundreds of other over the counter painkillers?

Tylenol is just a brand name. For those unfamiliar, Tylenol is basically just the brand name for paracetemol primarily used in North America. The Australian equivalent would be Panadol (and its derivative products).

So was this an issue with Tylenol? Or an issue with paracetemol? Or one of its other constituent ingredients?

Upon further link clicking (while I’m never having kids, I do take a lot of painkillers due to suffering from constant cluster headaches and migraines, so I was curious), I discovered the issue is actually with the¬†acetaminophen. Which is not an ingredient exclusive to Tylenol. It is used in many brands of painkiller.

So this wasn’t bad science. It was just bad journalism. Bad reporting.

Because how many people who aren’t as rigorous in fact checking as myself would just see the title of the article and think that the problem is specifically with the Tylenol and not realise that it’s actually a problem with an ingredient that’s found in other painkillers as well? So they buy the other brands thinking that they’re safe, when in actuality, they might be just as bad (if not worse if they contain more acetaminophen than Tylenol).

Poor reporting like this in regards to medical research (among others) can be extremely dangerous. 20140226-200951.jpg

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