Antidepressants During Pregnancy Increases Autism Risk In Children

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According to a new study, there is a possible association between consumption of antidepressants by women during their pregnancy and an increased risk of autism in their children. However, researchers of the study also said that untreated depression during pregnancy is also risky.

In order to reach the findings the researchers observed around 145,456 children in Quebec who were born between the year 1998 and 2009. The researchers looked at these children in order to find out if the children of the women who took antidepressants during their pregnancy were at higher risk of developing autism or not.

The researchers from University of Montreal found out that across the entire group of children, around 1,054 kids were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder that constitutes around 0.72% of the children.

The study also found out that those children whose mothers took antidepressants during the second and third trimester of their pregnancy had an 87% more chance of developing autism than those children whose mothers did not take any antidepressants. Out of 2,532 children who were included in this category, 31 of them were diagnosed with autism which constitutes to 1.2%.

It was also seen that children of those women who took certain antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) had almost 117% greater chances of developing autism.

However, a pediatric neurologist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Dr. Max Wiznitzer said that women who are prescribed to take SSRIs should not stop their treatment without more information and study on this particular issue. Talking about the risk of children developing autism if the mother took the SSRI medication, he said, “The absolute risk is still low and the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor that it’s low.”

According to Program Director of the Autism Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Bryan King who wrote an accompanying editorial with the study, more in-depth research is required in the area in order to fully understand the association between antidepressants taken by mothers and their impact on the children.

The findings of the study were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Source: ABC News

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