A new study from researchers at Drexel University adds evidence that using common antidepressant medications during pregnancy may contribute to a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children, although this risk is still very small.
A number of ASD cases might be prevented by reducing SSRI exposure in pregnancy…
2014 Study Abstract
We investigated whether there is an association between increased risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used during pregnancy. This study used Denmark’s health and population registers to obtain information regarding prescription drugs, ASD diagnosis, and health and socioeconomic status. There were 1.5 % of cases and 0.7 % of controls exposed to SSRIs during the pregnancy period, and higher effect estimates observed with longer use. We found evidence that in utero exposure to SSRIs increases a child’s risk associated with ASD. These results, while adding to the limited knowledge on prenatal pharmacological exposures as potential ASD risk factors, need to be balanced against the benefits of indicated medication use by pregnant mothers.