A  A  A   Print
Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk

Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk

MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Children of mothers who take a widely used class of antidepressants during pregnancy are not at increased risk for autism, a large new study finds.

Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects communication and social skills, is estimated to affect about one in 88 children in the United States.

Previous research has suggested that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are up to five times more likely to have children with autism.

This study focused on antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine). Researchers followed more than 600,000 Danish children born between 1996 and 2006.

Initial results showed an almost 2 percent risk of having a child with autism for pregnant women who took SSRIs during their pregnancy, compared with 1.5 percent for those who did not.

However, after analyzing mental health diagnoses among the children's siblings and parents, the researchers concluded that the risk of autism associated with SSRIs was minimal. The finding was published recently in the journal Clinical Epidemiology.

"More and more women are given antidepressant medication while they are pregnant. And an increasing number of children are diagnosed with autism. This has given rise to concern over a possible connection," study author Jakob Christensen, a researcher at Aarhus University and staff specialist at Aarhus University Hospital, said in a university news release.

However, he said, "In contrast to other, smaller studies, our survey cannot demonstrate that the risk of having a child with autism is increased by taking antidepressant medication during pregnancy."

The researchers noted that there may be other risks associated with taking antidepressants during pregnancy, and women should talk to their doctor if they are taking any type of medication and are thinking about becoming pregnant.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about autism.

SOURCE: Aarhus University, news release, Nov. 22, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.