Antidepressant ups autism risk in kids

Washington: A new study has suggested that children born to women who take certain antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the first trimester of pregnancy may modestly increase the risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Lisa A. Croen, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and colleagues examined 298 children with ASD (case group) and their mothers, and 1,507 control children and their mothers in the study.

They found that those who had taken selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were more than twice as likely to have a child later diagnosed with ASD.

This association was not seen for the small group of women who were prescribed a non-SSRI antidepressant only.

Additionally, after adjustment for a history of depression during the year prior to delivery, SSRI exposure during the first trimester remained significantly associated with risk of ASD, as was a history of SSRI exposure at any point during the year prior to delivery.

“Although the number of children exposed prenatally to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in this population was low, results suggest that exposure, especially during the first trimester, may modestly increase the risk of ASD,” the authors concluded.

The study is published online in the Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.


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