Although it is only a small study, researchers have found — in the first exploration between antidepressants and autism risk — that children of mothers taking antidepressants are twice as likely as other children to be diagnosed with autism.
The study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, suggests that a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are especially risky.
Children who were exposed to the drugs during the first trimester were nearly four times as likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared to unexposed children.
Although the findings are frightening for pregnant women taking medications like Zoloft or Prozac, the lead study author isn't jumping to any conclusions, saying:
“This is the first study of its kind to look at the association, and the findings have to be interpreted with a lot of caution. We can’t detect causality from one study.”
With less than 300 children diagnosed with a diagnosed ASD involved in the study, the alarming findings will need to be confirmed by larger studies and should not discourage women from continuing any prescription SSRIs.
Tags: autistic, children, depression, drugs, medication, pregnant, research, researchers, study, women