Antidepressants increase risk of autistic children
- The study doesn’t prove taking SSRIs during pregnancy directly causes autism
- The findings will need to be confirmed in future studies
- Women should not be dissuaded from starting or continuing to take SSRIs
- Untreated depression during pregnancy has its own risks, such as preterm birth
— Children whose mothers take Zoloft, Prozac, or similar antidepressants during pregnancy are twice as likely as other children to have a diagnosis of autism or a related disorder, according to a small new study, the first to examine the relationship between antidepressants and autism risk.
This class of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be especially risky early on in a pregnancy, the study suggests. 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 with unexposed children, according to the study, which appears in the Archives of General Psychiatry.