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OnMedica – News – Antidepressant use in pregnancy linked to autism in children


But researchers stress that affiliation shouldn’t be thought-about alarming as absolute danger was small

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Children uncovered to antidepressants throughout pregnancy appear to be at a barely larger danger of autism than children of moms with psychiatric issues who weren’t handled with antidepressants throughout pregnancy, finds a study* revealed in The BMJ right now.

However, the researchers stress that absolutely the danger of autism was small, so these outcomes shouldn’t be thought-about alarming.

Depression is widespread in women of childbearing age, and in Europe three-eight% of pregnant women are prescribed antidepressants throughout pregnancy. Several research have reported associations between antidepressant use throughout pregnancy and autism in offspring, however it isn’t clear whether or not that is due to the underlying sickness, antidepressant medicine, or different unmeasured elements.

Researchers on the University of Bristol analysed knowledge from 254,610 people aged Four-17, together with 5,378 with autism, dwelling in Stockholm in 2001-11 who have been born to moms who didn’t take antidepressants and didn’t have any psychiatric dysfunction, moms who took antidepressants throughout pregnancy, or moms with psychiatric issues who didn’t take antidepressants throughout pregnancy.

Of the three,342 children uncovered to antidepressants throughout pregnancy, Four.1% (136) had a analysis of autism in contrast with 2.9% (353) in 12,325 children not uncovered to antidepressants whose moms had a historical past of a psychiatric dysfunction.

There was no proof of any elevated danger of autism in children whose fathers have been prescribed antidepressants through the moms’ pregnancy.

The authors stated that their outcomes appeared to be in line with these of different analyses and recommend that antidepressant use in pregnancy and autism won’t be absolutely defined by confounding elements. However, they emphasised that absolutely the danger was small (over 95% of women in the research who took antidepressants throughout pregnancy didn’t have a toddler with autism).

Dr Max Davie, psychological health lead, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), & advisor group paediatrician, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, stated: “As the researchers themselves state, ‘it’s unattainable to dismiss the likelihood that noticed associations are wholly attributable to confounding’.”

He added: “There is not any purpose on the idea of this knowledge for women to alter their choice-making when it comes to the selection of remedy for melancholy in pregnancy.”

Dr Michael Craig, senior lecturer in reproductive & developmental psychiatry, KCL, stated: “It is essential to clarify that these outcomes will not be conclusive and the impact measurement of SSRI medicine on the danger for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) could be very small. However, these outcomes can’t be ignored and if the hyperlink between SSRIs and ASD is discovered to be strong then it raises a number of necessary issues.”

“Firstly, this study was unable to assess trimester effects. It might, for example, be safer to take SSRIs after the first trimester and avoidance of SSRIs in later pregnancy might be safe. Secondly, it is unclear whether other, non-SSRI, antidepressants (e.g. agomelatine) might be safer in pregnancy. Thirdly, this study highlights the need to further research into non-pharmacological methods of treating depression in pregnancy.”


* Rai D, Lee BK, Dalman C, et al. Antidepressants throughout pregnancy and autism in offspring: inhabitants based mostly cohort research. BMJ 2017;358:j2811. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j2811


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