Friday, December 27, 2013

Is SSRI use during pregnancy an autism risk factor?

A few recent studies have suggested that using SSRI’s during pregnancy might increase the risk of a child later being diagnosed autistic. SSRI’s are commonly used to treat depression. Earlier this year a team from Bristol studied the question and concluded: In utero exposure to both SSRIs and non-selective monoamine reuptake inhibitors (tricyclic antidepressants) was associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders, particularly without intellectual disability. Whether this association is causal or reflects the risk of autism with severe depression during pregnancy requires further research. However, assuming causality, antidepressant use during pregnancy is unlikely to have contributed significantly towards the dramatic increase in observed prevalence of autism spectrum disorders as it explained less than 1% of cases. In other words, mothers taking SSRI’s may have more autistic children (50% increased risk) but that could be due to the underlying condition (depression) rather than the SSRI use.

 Read more here.